Friend Request

Be careful who you click with.

20161 h 32 min

Enjoying college life as a popular student, Laura shares everything with her more than 800 friends on Facebook. But one day, after accepting a friend request from a social outcast named Marina, Laura’s life is cursed...

Director Simon Verhoeven
Runtime 1 h 32 min
Release Date 7 January 2016

I suppose we’ve reached a generational milestone in horror when the scariest thing someone can think of is a cyber-bullying ghost reliant on its victim owning a Facebook page. Reminiscent of “The Ring” and that apparition’s reliance on its victims being in the near vicinity of a screen in order to carry out its killings, this film focuses on an evil little girl whose spirit apparently requires her victims to own a Facebook account. While some of you might dismiss this film based on that aspect alone, don’t be so hasty. There are plenty of other reasons that make this movie unbearable to sit through. So sit back, relax, and let’s break down all the reasons I ranked this movie as Horror-ble.

The film opens with a psychology professor talking to his students about society’s obsession with and reliance on technology, in a very on-the-nose reference to the “moral” behind the movie. You might think that sounds familiar – *cough* Pulse *cough* – but I’m sure the filmmakers did their best to make this movie as original as possible, right? Well, as long as you’ve never seen Pulse, The Ring, The Ring Two, Rings, or Unfriended, then you’ll surely be surprised at how the Facebook monster attacks its victims through electronic objects. Aside from this, believe it or not I was pleasantly surprised during the first 15 minutes or so of the movie, and admittedly one of the jump scares actually got me. This feeling fades soon, however, as the jump scares become overwhelmingly predictable, emphasized by loud, blaring sounds that get annoying fast.

Our main focus is on the main character – Laura – her boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, and three close friends. Although she is a popular girl in college and has many more friends on Facebook. The other character of interest is a quiet, emo chick that pulls her hair out due to a stress tick and is obsessed with Laura. She also hangs out with wasps and may or may not be a witch, but we’ll get to that. Laura’s ex-boyfriend is portrayed as a cliche “bad boy” character that looks like he was ripped straight from a 90’s after school special. He looks and acts absolutely ridiculous, and every time he was on screen I was distracted by how poorly portrayed his character was. Speaking of poorly portrayed characters, when is the last time you saw a Dean of a college that was subservient to their students? Never, right? Well, not anymore. The Dean of this college is absurd and laughable. Knowing Laura has no control over her Facebook account, the Dean suspends her anyway, saying she’s being pressured by the students to do so. I’m sorry, but who’s the Dean here?

It’s not long before Laura befriends the psycho witch girl, who in turn begins stalking her like a crazy person, thus Laura subsequently unfriends her on Facebook. This action leads witch girl to kill herself on camera, which somehow allows her to possess Facebook. After becoming the Facebook monster, witch girl then proceeds to kill off Laura’s friends one by one and then post footage of their deaths on Laura’s Facebook account as Laura. Although it’s not Laura posting the videos, this leads her hundreds of Facebook friends to begin unfriending her (as shown by on-screen text counting down) and finally ending with her having no friends. It seems hilarious to me that anyone would find this plot scary and I genuinely hope this movie was made in jest. What if Laura didn’t have a Facebook account? Would it instead possess her Linked-In page? Who writes this stuff?

Even if Laura couldn’t control the Facebook monster that had assumed control over her account, I’m sure Facebook has procedures in place to deactivate accounts in emergency situations – especially if that account is posting videos of people dying. The movie tries to explain this away by telling us the Facebook monster uses some kind of “living code” that is unable to be stopped. That sounds like a pretty sophisticated witch monster, if you ask me. So to summarize – the possible witch girl killed herself to become a superintelligent Facebook monster, hellbent on ruining Laura’s life in an attempt to possess her and kill her friends, via computer code and social networking. Got it. After Laura effectively becomes the girl she was trying to avoid, some rap music plays and the film cuts to credits. Brilliant.

This movie is…

Next time – the Twitter monster!

Cheers and goodnight.