Unfriended: Dark Web – Just Straight TRASH

unfriended dark webRelease Date: July 20, 2018
Cast:  Colin Woodell, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Betty Gabriel, Andrew Lees
Director: Stephen Susco
Studio: Blumhouse Productions, Bazelevs Company
Distributor: BH Tilt, OTL Licensing 
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

Spoilers: Medium

Rating:

This movie is absolutely awful. No need to bury the lede. Don’t go see this. Giving this movie money encourages more of these terrible, low effort horror movies to exist.

Still not convinced? Ok, let’s get into it.

Unfriended: Dark Web picks up with our…I hesitate to say hero… our protagonist getting set up on his new MacBook. So we get to watch that cinematic experience, a Mac screen as someone tries to guess the password. Ugh. I don’t know about you, but after working in front of computers all day, watching the ‘screen’ of a laptop for a movie is just frustrating. Watching applications crash or video to pixelate doesn’t build terror, it just agitates.

So anyway, our hero gets his way into this laptop and he begins making his nightly Skype calls, first to his girlfriend, then to his group of friends. In messing around on the new laptop he discovers some strange programs and videos. One of which, The River, appears to be a dark web browser that connects the original owner of the laptop with a nefarious group.

Together the Skype group discovers the truth, the original owner of the laptop made snuff films for purchasers on the dark web, and these people want it back. Here, is where the movie almost stumbles into a good idea, despite its best efforts to the contrary. Some of the scariest moments in horror are when the audience sees the threat, or movement and suggestion of a malevolent presence that the characters are not aware of. This movie has that built into it but instead, for whatever nonsense reason the filmmakers decided that what would really make it spooky is if they pixelated the bad guys. It is just terrible.

 
And so, over the course of an hour and change, we watch the events unfold, the talking heads die one at a time and the plot limps to its conclusion. Rather than the supernatural bent of the original Unfriended, it takes a twist reminiscent of 2016’s Nerve, though that doesn’t do much for the story. While the movie incorporates American Sign Language as a bit of a plot device, it doesn’t even do this successfully throughout. For example, the main character is speaking to his girlfriend who is hearing impaired, it is made clear that she reads his lips to understand most of the conversation, however, the lower half of his face (and therefore his lips!) are off screen frequently. It’s a silly mistake to have and maybe would be forgiven if the movie offered anything of value elsewhere. Instead, you are just pulling it apart as you watch it to find your own fun and get through the torture that is laptop screen movies. 
 
Don’t let the tease of two alternate endings fool you into seeing this movie twice, please don’t even see it once.
 
This ‘format’ of horror needs to just die already.