Director – Simon Verhoeven (Welcome to Germany, Men in the City)
Starring – Alycia Debnam-Carey (Fear the Walking Dead, The Devil’s Hand), Connor Paolo (Stake Land, Camp Hell), and Liesl Ahlers (The Challenger Disaster, Inside Job)
Release Date – 2016
Rating – 3/5
Horror can find its way into every facet of life ranging from dreams, prepping food to cook, summer camp, making love, and even social media. Any and everything you do can be turned into a horror movie when enough thought is applied. The internet and social media has been the center for several horror films in recent years with movies like Smiley and Unfriended. For the record, Smiley is a turd on toast but I can’t speak for Unfriended. It could be a turd but I wouldn’t know. These films usually lack story and are just tossed together with a modest budget to make a quick buck.
Last year the movie Friend Request was released in theaters and I skipped it. Honestly, I wanted to check it out but work and family life got the best of me. I figured I’d eventually check it out. Hell, maybe even have a double feature with Unfriended. Not long ago I was sent the press release on the physical release of the film and I was able to score a review copy of it.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Laura (Carey) who is a popular girl in college and on social media. She befriends a new student named Marina (Ahlers). Marina has no friends and Laura opens up to her. They become friends on Facebook but Laura quickly discovers that Marina is odd. One night Laura brushes her off to celebrate her birthday with her friends when Marina finds out and kills herself. Soon she finds her Facebook profile sharing videos of her friends dying and the only thing connecting their deaths to Marina is that they became friends just hours before they die. Now she must stop Marina’s spirit from killing her friends before the police arrests her.**Spoiler Alert**
I assumed this film was going to take the same route as Pulse where social media would be doing the killing. In a sense that is right but the film offers up a little more than that. I really liked the story and where it took me even though there was several questionable scenes scattered throughout.
The acting in this one is fun and the cast does a solid job but the problem is the characters are very one dimensional with the exception of Mirana. Her backstory and her reign of cyber terror made the character stand out which, honestly, has nothing to really do with the cast but more of the writing. The characters are easily forgettable and the viewer doesn’t care if they die or not.
The story for this one has several things that I really enjoyed and a few that I just didn’t care for. I really enjoyed the popular girl falling prey to a supernatural presence that turns people against her. I really liked that and I loved it even more when the witch storyline was added. I love witches and anytime I see them in a film I get excited. Sadly, adding this to social media did more than make the film feel cheesy. It took it into the land of tacky which did knock it down a notch.
Finally, the film has plenty of practical and visual effects. The practical looks good for what it is and most of the visual does but there is several scenes where the visual effects stands out and looks horrendous. Overall, Friend Request won’t be a movie people will be talking about in 5 years. Hell, by summer the movie will easily be forgotten but it does have some entertainment value that I would recommend checking out. Its not perfect but fun.