Unfriended takes a growing social concern – the grim rise of cyberbullying – and gives it a found footage horror twist. Directed by Russian helmer, Levan Gabriadze, the film centres on high schooler Laura Barns, who after being humiliated by a boozy video being posted on social networking sites, commits suicide. A year later, those that bullied Laura are plagued by an unknown person/entity via the very means in which they tormented her.
Gabriadze has a whole load of sequels mapped out, so if Unfriended makes some friends at the box office come its April 2015 release, we could be seeing the birth of a new horror series.
There are no ghouls, ghosts and mythical beasts forming the inspiration for this film; just good old-fashioned society turning on its head. With the majority of young ‘uns now the proud owners of a Facebook profile, the playground has effectively moved online and for every bout of mega banter or hilarious Lad Bible clip, the ugliness of recess creeps out in the form of cyberbullying.
Famous cases include the Myspace-related sucide of Megan Meier, the death of Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after discovering he was the subject of homophobic slurs on Twitter, and the case of Izzy Dix, who hung herself after being victim of intense trolling. These are worrying cases each with their own cautionary tale to tell.