Why Unfriended Is The Best Horror Movie Of The Decade
Unfriended came out of nowhere in the middle of 2015 and was critically panned. But screw the critics, I think it’s one of the best horror films of the decade.
Now, before you scroll straight to the comments to tell me how wrong I am in as many colourful terms as possible, horror has been a magnificent genre in the 2010s. There has been a boat load of quality flicks so far and I’m not saying they are bad at all. This is just my opinion. So, let’s begin.
Why do I write about this? Well there is a sequel that came out today named Unfriended: Dark Web. And given the recent reviews, I have a sense of doubt that this may suffer from the classic sequel problem - trying to do everything to a factor of 100. Also, shoutout to Dead Meat's recent. cracking Kill Count video about it, which actually helped further reinforce my opinions on this film.
So, with that in mind, I didn’t want to see the original’s good name tarnished by this shoddy work. Hence, me bringing it up.
Paranormal Activity really killed the found-footage horror genre there for a while, to the point that I was sure we wouldn’t see anything similar until we get past the year 2020 at least.
But yet, in 2015, we got Unfriended, which on the surface of things is rather paint-by-numbers in found footage construction. A bunch of teenagers are violently picked off one-by-one by a mysterious entity, who is exposing the past transgressions of our protagonists.
When the logo for MTV Films was emblazoned across the screen during my first viewing, after a ruthless gym session in my earlier 20s, my mind was filled with doubt. But at the end, I left with a giant smile on my face.
In my mind, there are two reasons this surpasses the current crop of horror material and sits firmly on top of the world:
1. Attention to detail
While I didn’t find Paranormal Activity scary…or entertaining…in anyway shape or form, I could appreciate the attention paid to the tiny details that come with homemade movies. This trained users to look at the time signature on the tape. Unfriended took this and moved the needle on it.
Software used is authentic to the real programs you use every day, from multiple chrome tabs (finally, movies aren’t inventing operating systems for no reason). Helpful plot devices are translated brilliantly into the digital age - typing a message response, second guessing and deleting it effectively showing what Blaire is really thinking behind her words for example.
It’s these small details that I and many viewers probably appreciate a great deal.
2. A perfectly timed cultural nail hit
Cyber-bullying is continuously prominent in the news today. This film was two years removed from the harrowing story of Amanda Todd, international news’ first real exposure to this new form of crime.
Unfriended was really perfectly timed as these stories came to light - tapping into the uncomfortabilities of the general public at that time (much like Get Out nailed awkward liberal racial tensions) and still remaining relevant today (minus the out of date Mac OS).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than aware of many many incredible horror films, which have been released since 2010 - from the genre-defying Tucker & Dale vs. Evil to utterly incredible (and aforementioned) Get Out.
However, to me, none of them quite have the unique joie de vivre that comes with this film. It’s probably just me and my baffling taste in movies, but I hope someone else feels similar at least.
Also, at just 82 minutes, it is ruthlessly efficient with time - something I believe is missing from films.