For my review of the previous film, click the following link: UNFRIENDED (2015)
Was the previous one such a success? You know what? It just hit me. The first film was made on a one million dollar budget, which is microscopic. Plus, it’s horror, and it’s dealing with subject matter that teens and young adults are all familiar with: Skype. Of course it was going to make it’s money back. So… dumb question.
The story looks like it’s about a dude who takes a laptop that’s been sitting in the lost and found at his job for weeks and is gearing up for a game night with his friends online. But they have an uninvited and unknown guest in their group who makes them play a game or die.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Colin Woodell (UNSANE , and the upcoming TV show THE PURGE ), Rebecca Rittenhouse (DON’T WORRY ), Betty Gabriel (UPGRADE , GET OUT , and THE PURGE 3 ), Chelsea Alden (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of), and Andrew Lees (MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA , and the upcoming MORTAL ENGINES ).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing is Stephen Susco, who is making his directorial debut, but has written THE GRUDGE (2004). The cinematographer is Kevin Stewart, known for stuff I’ve never seen or heard of. Finally, the editor is Andrew Wesman, known for UNFRIENDED, and the upcoming LIKED (2018).
Alright, so this movie looks like it’s not really a supernatural horror… or maybe it is? How would the dude pulling the strings know how to get to the houses of all his victims so quickly, if he’s not a ghost? I mean, the whole point of the first movie is that the ghost possessed their chat room (by God, I actually wrote that out) and if they didn’t follow its rules, it possessed the victims and forced them to kill themselves. So if it’s a ghost, it might be pointless… or are there many ghosts playing along? I have no idea. I’m just spit-balling here about a movie that, quite honestly, I don’t give two shits about. If I wasn’t blogging, I wouldn’t even bother. With that said, the current IMDb rating (as of 7/17/2018), it’s resting on a 4.8/10. So maybe this is so bad that it’ll be hilariously entertaining? Guess I won’t know ’till I see it.
This is my honest opinion of: UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB
It’s game night for a group of friends on Skype, Matias (Colin Woodell), AJ (Connor Del Rio), lesbian couple Serena (Rebecca Rittenhouse) and Nari (Betty Gabriel), Damon (Andrew Lees), and Lexx (Savira Windyani). However, the night takes a strange turn when Matias’ new laptop keeps glitching out on him, and stumbles upon some questionable snuff footage from the dark web. To make matters worse, the original owner, known only as Charon IV, discovers that he has it and is demanding it back. He threatens Matias by sneaking into a dorm room, specifically the one where his ex-girlfriend Amaya (Stephanie Nogueras) lives and threatens her life if he doesn’t return the laptop. But things get worse when it’s discovered that Charon IV is one of many Charons who pay to have horrible things happen to innocent people and Matias is constantly threatened with telling and not telling his friends about the situation.
By God this movie’s awful.
I guess we can now assume that this now-franchise won’t really have an identity. The first movie, for those that haven’t seen it (or read my review) was basically about a dead girl haunting the group’s Skype chat. Basically, supernatural horror. This movie decided to throw a curve ball and make it about a super group of hackers. Nothing supernatural here. This isn’t necessarily be a bad thing. The original concept for the Michael Myers Halloween movies was that each new installment would tackle a whole new horror theme. However, because the original film was such a hit and the sequel was a direct sequel to the first film, it created Halloween’s identity. So when the third movie, SEASON OF THE WITCH, rolled around, audiences weren’t thrilled. This concept has certainly been brought to the Cloverfield franchise. The first movie was a found-footage Godzilla-like monster flick, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE was a claustrophobic paranoia thriller, and PARADOX was a dumpster fire- I mean a sci-fi space horror, with very little connection between the lot of them… until PARADOX came out, but screw that movie. The point I’m trying to make is that identity can be fluid in a genre if done well. It is not done well here.
Regardless of your feelings toward the first movie, this is an unpleasant experience to say the least. For me, one of the more appealing aspects of the first flick was how the characters were written. By no means Shakespearean, but the main characters were written in a way that made them at least seem like normal teens and all their dirty laundry is slowly revealed, making you not like them and kind of take Laura Barns’ side. At its core, the movie is a revenge haunting and you kind of sympathize with the ghost. The argument is that these people deserved what happened to them. However, in DARK WEB, the same cannot be said about these characters. These characters are good people, so therefore, the movie is simply bleak when they start dying. To make matters worse, because none of them are interesting or smart, we can’t invest in their survival. Even Matias is difficult to find likable as he easily gets frustrated when Amaya starts signing, and there’s nothing more unattractive than an impatient man. Believe me, it’s why I’m single. Eh, maybe Amaya likable enough, but only because she literally has nothing to do with anything that’s going on and quite possibly could play the sympathy card because she’s deaf. But looking past that, she’s a bland character. Quite possibly a good actress, in fact, the talent across the board is not really in question. In fact, I think the most dedicated actress in the movie is Rittenhouse. There’s a scene where she’s crying her eyes out and snot is dripping out of her nose. Unflattering as it may be, this woman needs a serious acting job STAT. A real role to sink her teeth into and get to being famous because that was awesome. But the writing and direction for these characters does absolutely no favors for anyone on screen.
Regardless of how likable someone may find the characters, the sad fact is that half the problems that these characters face could be so easily resolved. Matias stole the laptop. Any normal person would either find the nearest sewer drain and chuck is down there, but have the sensibility to close the LCD and take it to the nearest police station. Hell, even returning it to Charon IV would at least make the problem not his. Hackers and weirdos in the dark web will always exist, so it barely matters giving it to this guy. But Matias is so concerned about being a hero that he puts all of his friends in danger, ultimately not helping anybody. Always that one thing that needs to be clicked on and then fluffs out the rest of the movie. In retrospect it’s damn lazy.
I feel like this movie could have had potential, but the story would need some serious re-working. The themes of the last movie were bullying and revenge. What if the hacker was a lone person and wanted to take everything away from those that bullied him. Break apart the lesbian couple by showing cheating. Kill someone’s mom who’s hooked on life support. Reveal dirty texts to a girlfriend. Anything that would mean hurting people that deserve it. But that’s not what we get. We get a fuck-ton of stupidity that only gets worse as the movie progresses, maintains a level of frustration that never goes away, and just isn’t very entertaining. Don’t see this movie. It’s not worth your time, effort, or money. Maybe some of the acting isn’t bad, but that doesn’t save it. Death wants face time, huh? Declined.
My honest rating for UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB: 2/5
This week’s reviews:
- THE EQUALIZER 2
- UNCHARTED (fan film)
- MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
- PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997)
Next week’s reviews: