Laura (Fear The Walking Dead’s Alycia Debnam-Carey) unwittingly befriends a mysterious girl from her college class on Facebook only to unfriend her when the relationship turns to stalking. Following the horrific suicide of the girl she has scorned, Laura finds herself fighting a demonic presence that begins hunting down her friends in a number of sadistic, supernatural ways….

Laura has it all. She’s popular, she’s pretty, performing well at school and even has a loving boyfriend (William Moseley). It comes as no surprise then when new girl and social outcast, Marina, wants to be her friend and adds her on Facebook. Oddly enough, Marina has zero friends on Facebook, but feeling sorry for her and against her better judgement, Laura accepts her request. However, when Marina’s friendship becomes a little too intense, Laura decides to unfriend her completely – resulting in Marina’s horrifying suicide being broadcast on social media.

Friend Request gets off to a conventional yet fairly promising start, even featuring some scenes of German expressionism-inspired animation which are unique in such a genre and expose director Simon Verhoeven’s heritage. The plot, however, soon reveals itself to be formulaic with several clichéd scenes and comprised of sloppy dialogue. The action itself kicks off rather quickly with your usual scenes of a person alone, hearing a strange noise, lights flickering yet they still go to check it out. Whilst these are forgivable to an extent, it happens so often that it leaves us pondering whether this is paying homage to such classics as Halloween and the Amityville Horror or whether it’s just shoddy screenwriting.

As with all horror productions, Friend Request is a reflection on social and political context. In this case, the movie is a commentary for our Internet culture, even unsubtly dropping ‘internet addiction and social media saturation’ in to Laura’s psychology curriculum. Similar to the 2015 film UnfriendedFriend Request unfortunately falls in the realms of an enviable Facebook thriller but there is an underlying message. Aimed at a generation of Youtubers, Snapchat and Twitter addicts who hardly look up from their phones – it is a statement highlighting the dangers of technology. Its message, however, does get a little lost amongst the clichéd and amusingly poor visual effects.

Although the film contains some shock moments and in some scenes can be pretty scary, Friend Request is also amusing due to its predictability but also some scenes of deliberate comic relief. In many ways, it tries too hard to be so much more than it is and at times, there’s just too much being crammed in. Having realized that Marina has ties with black magic, Laura goes in search of answers yet no police officers thought to do the same, instead blaming Laura for a string of bizarre events. The film creates a backstory for Marina; revisiting her childhood school where it is suggested she was raped by two students and going so far back to her mother’s death following her birth. All of which are not only rushed over but also seemed a little unnecessary – adding very little, if anything, to the story as it claws its way to an anti-climatic, utterly predictable finish.

Friend Request does have some redeeming qualities, however. There is certainly some understated irony in there and its cinematography is certainly commendable in some scenes. Though not the first of its kind, it is an interesting statement on the Internet Age with some genuinely dark and disturbing scenes. Friend Request is guaranteed to take you on an interesting journey though it is perhaps a little too predictable for us advanced film fans. It will ultimately leave you shouting at your screen at the stupidity of its characters which makes their deaths all the more enjoyable.

 

Movie Review: Friend Request
2.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (4 Votes)

About The Author

Sophie Elizabeth

Sophie is a film blogger from South London with a degree in Film Theory and Major Production. Sophie currently works in digital marketing but in her spare time you'll find her writing reviews or at the cinema. Sophie loves all things Star Wars and Hollywood but having specialized in the Horror genre, monsters are her first love. She'll watch absolutely anything given the chance - you can find her also on her blog, http://www.popcornandglitter.co.uk Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophieathawes