Unfriended: Dark Web, the latest thriller from Blumhouse Productions, is surprisingly fairly decent. It’s not because it’s a Blumhouse flick that I say that it’s surprising, because they’ve come up with a wide array of really solid films over the past 12 years, including Whiplash, Paranormal Activity, and The Purge. It’s because it’s a part of the currently vogue webcam-based found-footage subgenre of horror/thriller films. A descendent of the craze that followed The Blair Witch Project, films in this format are often very amateurish in acting and production. Unfriended: Dark Web, however, is handled about as well as one could readily hope for.
Ostensibly a sequel to the 2015 Unfriended, the two films have nothing really in common other than the whole film is shot from camera phones and laptops. Skype, FaceTime, Facebook video calls, and others all serve as the lens through which the audience watches the action and has to come to learn the various characters. The film opens on a Mac’s login screen as Matias (played by Colin Woodell) tries to figure out a password.
It’s not strictly speaking a horror film; instead it’s more of a straight thriller. It eschews supernatural forces and this time sticks to an overly clever hacker approach. Nearly all of the software and commands used are legitimate and familiar tools, giving it a stronger sense of verisimilitude than other similar films tend to have.
Actual blood and gore happen just offscreen, which is why if you’re looking to take someone who doesn’t do well with the sight of headshots and vivisection, then Unfriended: Dark Web might be a great place to introduce them to this kind of film. It’s about as tension-laden as the recent Don’t Breathe.
Written and directed by The Grudge screenwriter Steven Sucso, Unfriended: Dark Web stars Get Out standout Betty Gabriel, Colin Woodell (Unsane), Andrew Lees (The Pacific), and Connor Del Rio (Level Up). It arrives in theaters starting today.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Unfolding in real-time UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB is the most terrifying horror yet from the producer of GET OUT, HAPPY DEATH DAY and THE PURGE, and the makers of UNFRIENDED.
When a 20-something finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop, he and his friends are unwittingly thrust into the depths of the dark web. They soon discover someone has been watching their every move and will go to unimaginable lengths to protect the dark web.
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