They tore down Captain Eo, don’t they?

On one hand, Unfriended is a pretty good film, on the other, it will save society
Reported on 25th of August, 2015

Being a useless piece of shit and needing to be smashed, my iPhone deleted the first version of this article (I record now, to clear my head. This works especially well while driving, at least to document my rage while driving). It continues to amaze me that the new technology can’t do simple tasks like voice memos. They’re unable to do to dos, a sentence written purely to challenge the syntax robot, my imagined annoyance of which is a small victory. The perpetual Schlimmbesserung really continues to enrage me: someone has to pay, even if, by smashing the phone with a fucking hammer, it’s technically me.


25 August 2015 @ On My Fat Ass

$10.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


Yet the phone – and my impotent rage at things that don’t actually matter – was actually helping me to finish the denouement for Unfriended, a pretty not half-bad horror film. That it’s horror is even better, for you and I, since the now eleven (eleven!) people who read this don’t see horror films and I get to give everything away. Why else would I write except to say things I already know?

In case you do see it (you won’t), this movie must be viewed on the small screen, in point of fact, a computer, specifically a laptop, and even more specifically a Mac. The reason being is that as the events unfold (a Skype conversation between friends who are slowly eliminated by a vengeful ghost), we only see the screen of the computer. Unlike my usual me, I’m really glad I didn’t see it in the theater, because I kept trying to click on things to change the outcome.

This was an unexpectedly wonderful feeling, like the first time you see a 3D movie. You turn to watch the audience, grasping for the non-existent meteors floating in front of their eyes at “Captain EO.” For those not familiar with this bit of Disneyland ephemera: in the 1980s, they torn down Tomorrowland (the ride) to install an 18 minute 3D extravaganza starring Mr. Michael Jackson with floating meteors and dancing (which I did see…in the theater). In the 2000s, they quietly torn down Captain EO after that whole molestation thing, just as in 2013, it was declared that Mr. Jackson, being dead, was a hero, and hence that whole molestation thing never happened. In 2015, ‘Never happened’, is how one summed up Tomorrowland, the film.

Watching Unfriended on your laptop recreates “The Tingler!” joy of that first 3D experience, as you unconsciously attempt to click the hidden window that you want to bring to the front. Like It Follows, though not nearly as great, this is pure cinema, a single take (technically a screen grab), even more impressive in that they pulled it off. This would never work in a movie theater, which is too bad, since I imagine it could give birth to the new Mann Chinese call-out. Where any self respecting horror fan would typically yell: “Don’t go into the basement!!!!!!”, they can now exclaim, “Don’t you know how to bring up contextual menus?!!!!????? Option-click!!!! OPTION-CLICK!!!!1!!!1!!”

Her final comeuppance is a feeling as satisfying as floating meteors and accidental onMouseOvers.

I’m making it sound better than it is, I suppose the averagosity of 2015 is doing that, but you might watch and enjoy it to the end. No you won’t because it’s a horror movie, so here’s what happens. Humiliating video of girl posted online, girl kills self, comes to haunt, and gruesomely eliminate – in tiny Skype windows – the other teens responsible. We don’t see the shaming video until two-thirds through, and it’s a nice reveal: drunk at a party, future ghost passes out and shits her pants, the uploaded video entitled “Kill Urself”. It works, unlike so many movie reveals, cause we believe she would.

But ultimately, as in the ending which I will now spoil, this is a moral tale. As the Nice Girl (whose computer is our perspective) is shown to be the one behind the video and its posting, we realize that all her wide-eyed pleadings that doomed her friends were in fact brilliantly facile lies.

Yes, it's a computer screen as proof I saw a movie that takes place on a computer screen. But at least I took a photo. Screen grabs lead to ghosts.

Yes, it’s a computer screen as proof I saw a movie that takes place on a computer screen. But at least I took a photo. Screen grabs lead to ghosts.

Her final comeuppance is a feeling as satisfying as floating meteors and accidental onMouseOvers. Morals have long left films, of the horror type most especially. Since J- and K-horror took over fifteen years ago, the ghost will rip out your CGI jawbone sure, but not because of your having wronged someone, that you showed your tits, or caused, by omission, to allow a tit be shown. The new horror (The Babadook, Ringu, all torture-porn, Mr. Rob Zombie’s œuvre, Oculus, etc.), means that you are doomed because you did nothing, or worse still in the age of accumulation, did something good.

Morality, for all its faults (non-sic), is form of pleasure: think of the palm burns as we contemplate (or pay to watch characters contemplate) justice, revenge, retribution and so on. One might say that the great irony of our recent time is that we’ve removed justice from our films, where it works fine because it’s a fantasy, and plunked it down in our society, where it absolutely doesn’t. Justice and retribution are all the rage (non-sic) in treating crime and starting wars, but without an actual leatherface type to vanquish, it works about as well as, I don’t know, the chances leatherface won’t be back for the sequel.

Post disappointing end of season 2 True Detective, I actually have even more nonsense to spout about nihilism (spoiler: it’s a lazy man’s irony). For now, let’s be grateful for the lesson of Unfriended. On one hand, Unfriended is a pretty good film, on the other, it will save society. Barring that, my iPhone from getting smashed. So thanks.

The gore bits are more effective in a tiny Skype window. It’s almost restrained.
Here’s a nice one: the liminal association with blocky anti-aliased screen loads and getting eaten by a ghost. Like a lite version of showers and open water, you freak out when your internet connection is a bit chunky.
Super short 1h20. Bonus points.
Putting the morals back in films that involve death by blender.
Total Profits
It’s not totally great, but, honestly, I couldn’t think of anything wrong with the thing.
Total Losses


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