'Unfriended' Keeps on Keeping on

Unfriended is the kind of movie that shouldn't work, but does. It doesn't have any big name (or even recognizable) stars. It appears to have a shoestring budget. And Universal doesn't appear to be pushing it with any major press releases/advertising. Those are three strikes and it should be out, but it isn't. This little movie just keeps on pulling in the crowds.

The basic premise of the movie is that six friends are skyping/chatting on line. At first, it is just Blaire (Shelley Hennig) and her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm). They are soon joined by Jess (Renee Olstead), Adam (Will Pietz) and Ken (Jacob Wysocki). Later, another friend, Val (Courtney Halverson), joins the group. There is also a mysterious unidentified person online with them who will not identify him/herself but the input is coming from Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman). Laura is a friend of theirs who killed herself a year ago due to online bullying.

It seems Laura has some revenge in mind for her "friends." With her powers from beyond the grave she intends to hand out some retribution, and she does it in a way that makes it stretch out for an hour or more. Like Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians Laura eliminates the members of the group one at a time, and the thrill is seeing who, if anyone, will still be alive at the end.

The power of the movie boils down to three factors. First, the cast of virtual unknowns are uniformly good. They bring a sense of realism to all of the actions that occur. Plus, they make each of the characters stand out individually. Audiences believe that these six people are in jeopardy and are trapped in the world of the internet.

Second, most of the violence in the movie occurs in the dark or else goes by in a blur. There is much more that is implied than is shown. Plus, there is impending doom from the beginning, but that only raises the tension and the excitement.

Third, all of the movie takes place on computer screens, which is a place where most teens feel most at home. It is also the place where much of high school bullying takes place. The makers of this movie intended to make a timely movie, and this locale seals the deal.

The film is rated R for violence and profanity.

If you like horror movies, then you are going to love this one. It is smart, timely and well-acted. You will be drawn into its plot from the first frame of film, and will stay there until the last "fade to black." It may look ordinary in the trailers, but it manages to rise above that level in a host of ways.

I scored Unfriended a clicked 7 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper