|“||If you hang up, all your friends will die.||„|
|― Laura Barns|
Unfriended is a 2014 American Teen Slasher Horror film written by Nelson Greaves and directed by Levan Gabriadze starring Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, Courtney Halverson and Heather Sossamon. The film is presented through the protagonist Blaire Lily's (Shelley Hennig) desktop utilizing such modern networking as the primary search engine Google, Gmail, Skype, Facebook, Spotify, IMessage, Instagram and Youtube as well as referencing such other popular modern day apps and vices such as the popular IPhone and PC game app Candy Crush and Snapchat. Through Skype we get to visually see the environments of the characters and through the youtube and liveleak videos of Laura Barns (Heather Sossamon) the film's killer.
PlotEditThe film begins with Blaire Lily (Shelley Hennig) on her desktop opening up a tab and entering the site of liveleak.com to view the Laura Barns suicide video. The video shows from a handful of students and teachers on the Fresno High basketball courts Laura pacing back and forth in distress as the onlookers call out to her. Laura then produces a pistol which she aims at her head and fires, a spurt of blood erupting as the gunshot's loud bang sounds and the screams of the onlooking teachers and students then begin to make their way over to Laura's body. Blaire stops the video before the crowd reaches Laura's body and then revisits an already open tab for the Laura Barns Kill Urself youtube video. Blaire presses play on the video and watches the first 40 seconds which displays a drunken Laura at Matt Borsen's (Matt Bohrer's) party in his backyard drunk along with the rest of the Fresno High seniors. Laura in her drunken state pushes over fellow senior Val Rommel (Courtney Halverson) who threatens to beat her and Laura intoxicated mocks Val's threat before the video cuts to the camera-man walking round the side of the house.
Blaire's boyfriend Mitch Roussel (Moses Jacob Storm) suddenly calls her on Skype and she accepts his call, displaying her webcam and turning on her microphone. Blaire impersonates Pazuzu possessed Reagan from The Exorcist and waits for him to turn his cam on as he is quickly ducked aside to urinate. He returns and the two begin a cam to cam conversation which covers Blaire's bruised knees from school and how she wants to make Prom Night the night they lose their virginity to each other. Mitch with a kitchen knife jokingly requests she take off her blouse and underwear and Blaire indulges him with a brief striptease, which is interrupted by the sudden group call of her best friend Jess Felton (Renee Olstead), Mitch's best friend Adam Sewell (Will Peltz) and Mitch and Adam's other friend Ken Smith (Jacob Wysocki). Blaire and Mitch ignore their call request and prepare to continue with their striptease however suddenly the ignored call is suddenly patched through. Jess, Adam and Ken laugh and joke over Blaire and Mitch's apparent cyber-sesh whilst discovering amongst the group chat is a faceless account user who doesn't have their webcam switched on or their mic. Blaire and Adam work out them all hanging up and restarting in a different order to see if it's a glitch as Ken suggests. However as Adam calls Blaire back and Blaire begins questioning Mitch on IMessage about the patch through of the others on Skype she notices that the user is still there. Mitch links Blaire a blog post about a dead IT teacher who was apparently possessed by the ghost of her dead husband after answering his messages and killed herself. Blaire then re-adds Mitch, Jess and Ken to the convo and they all begin to discuss and joke around the faceless user in their convo as well as the fact that none of them can hang up on the user. Mitch also eventually responds on IMessage announcing he received a weird message from Laura Barns. Blaire then herself receives a message from Laura Barns on facebook and upon opening her inbox is asked what she is watching by her. Blaire then re-opens the tab for Laura Barns Kill Urself and removes it from her history before questioning the Laura Barns facebook account as to who is doing this. Blaire then comes to the conclusion that Val, an on and off friend of theirs must have hacked Laura's account and is pranking them.After asking Mitch and the others whether they have talked to her tonight she decides to add her into the group convo to which Val accepts.
Val then begins to discuss a concert the group will be attending and goes over the organizing of tickets leaving Blaire to safely assume Val is indeed the one messaging off Laura's facebook and responds jokingly. Blaire on IMessage tells Mitch she is ready to hang up and she will see him tomorrow however then receives another facebook message from Laura stating that if she hangs up all her friends will die, Blaire becomes angry and believes it to be Mitch.An album of photos with Val tagged is then uploaded through Jess' facebook entitled Val Gets Shitfaced, which displays Val drunk, smoking cannabis from a bong pipe and making out a guy before passing out and having embarrassing scrawl written on her right thigh.
The photos ignite an argument between Val and Jess as Val demands Jess remove them whilst insulting her. Jess eventually refreshing her facebook page a couple of times is able to remove the album only for moments later the photos to resurface, uploaded through Adam's facebook with Val tagged. Through Skype Jess messages saying that Val deserves it and Val and Val responds with a scandalous statement about Jess' sexual relations with the Fresno High Football team. Both maintain they did not send the messages and as Blaire attempts to end the argument between the two through Skype she messages saying she is on Jess' but also states she did not send the message. The faceless user titled billie227 suddenly then messages admitting they sent the messages through their Skype accounts. Blaire then checks the profile of billie227 and discovers it to be Laura's old Skype account. Jess theorizes that Laura's brother could of logged on to her Skype account though Val disagrees. Val threatens billie227 concerning the photos uploaded and is responded to with ominous messages. Val is then sent an embarrassing and apparently threatening item from billie227 and then decides to call the police, as she begins to dial 911 she threatens Ken should the photos and threats turn out to be him and disconnects from the convo. The remaining group then go over billie227 and Val and the possibility of being some girl Val angered. Blaire then receives an email from billie227 which reads Round 1: Exposure and upon opening and screencasting it to the group is a screenshot of a facebook message sent by Laura to Val a year ago. The message from Laura a plea for the bullying to stop and an apology for her bad behavior to her, Val's response Kill Urself. The screenshot is uploaded to Instagram and soon hateful comments from fellow peers and others flood the picture directed at Val. Val is then reconnected to the group chat and her webcam seems to be frozen as she is sitting motionless in her laundry room staring blank without blinking, beside her an open bottle of bleach. Blaire calls Val's phone which vibrates along the bench beside her with the Bleach on it displaying that Val's webcam is not in fact frozen.As the phone vibrates to the edge of the bench the camera suddenly drops and the police rang earlier soon arrive at the unseen scene, discussing the scene through police codes heard by the group as they attempt to direct the officers' attention to Val's dropped laptop.
Blaire googling police scanner codes deciphers the scene as a Mental Case and then a suicide. As the code for suicide is read up the laptop is re-arranged by an officer and the webcam displays Val's dead body on the floor before she is disconnected from the chat. billie227 then Skype messages the group stating they have dirty little secrets and she wants to expose them. A file for a jpg. image is then messaged to Blaire with the title Not Boyfriend. Mitch tells the group not to open it however Blaire opens it discover a meme of her asleep in Adam's arms with the writing Adam Not Ur Boyfriend. A second jpg. image is then sent titled he touch which is yet another meme of Blaire asleep on Adam with the writing this time saying He Touch U Good. Mitch then tells the group that they have to work out to get rid of the user and that seeing as they can't hang up they all mute their mics and discuss it over the phone, Jess however asks the group not to as she does not where her phone is, Blaire, Mitch, Adam and Ken then all mute their mics and call each other as Jess with her mic still on watches and rearranges herself whilst reading the sudden messages from billie227 announcing she will turn their mics on before actually doing so. Jess tries to tell the group that billie can hear them but the others remain distracted by an idea of Ken's to email them all trogan destroyer software so that Ken can track the user's IP address. billie enquires as to what Ken is doing but Ken states he is only playing a game as he emails the group all downloads for Trojan Destroyer which the group installs and runs onto their desktops. Mitch, Ken, Adam and Jess all clear their computers with their Trojan Destroyer scans however Blaire struggles as torrents for Saturday Night Live and the movie Mirror Mirror block her recycling bin. Eventually she is able to empty it and complete the scan. Upon the group's completion of their individual scans as billie begins a pinwheel stating that they have one minute to stop this billie is removed from the group convo. Adam who had previously withdrew his father's pistol then proceeds to call the police and inform of their harassment and what they witnessed happen to Val Rommel. Blaire continuing to IMessage Mitch receives ominous replies revealing that her father is out drinking with Laura Barns' father and that she has more friends then she ever did before as a link is sent to her facebook memorial page. The female officer is revealed to be billie who tells them don't hang up before rejoining the group convo, this time with a webcam turned on, which displays what appears to be a crate or lattice. Jess discovers that as Ken moves the webcam is in fact somewhere in his bungalow behind him. Ken moving boxes aside and a lattice in his room discovers the webcam and the entire group are suddenly thrown offline from Skype. Blaire signs back in and calls back the group beginning with Ken. Ken's webcam begins to feed through first, buffering slow as he stands in front of his computer. The entire group patch through as he is then shown being attacked by an invisible force which throws him down, thrusts him forwards causing him to his head into the computer and causing it buffer again.As the buffering finally finishes it shows Ken feeding his right arm into his bungalow blender and as the weight of his mutilated arm breaks the glass holster then feeding his throat on to the exposed propeller blades.
The group scream and panic as Ken is then disconnected from the group convo.Adam following Ken's death attempts to leave his house only to have someone knock on all the doors and loud hollering to come from all directions before as walks down a corridor with his webcam and gun the lights are shut off.
billie messages on Skype for Adam to sit back down and after being asked she wants replies with to take out the trash before asking the remaining group if they remember the video. On Blaire's computer hordes of tabs of the Laura Barns Kill Urself video open replaying the Laura and Val drunken argument before skimming to the end. The end of the video shows a passed out Laura who has excreted and menstruated in her dress and underwear with the paint writing of Leaky Laura Kill Urself. billie then Skype messages that they are all terrible people and Laura's facebook is then messaged by Blaire protesting the group's innocence in the bullying and video. Laura responds with screenshotted youtube comments from anonymous users insulting her. Blaire then referring to Mitch's recommended blog site detailing honesty and confession of sins helps protect from vengeful spirits capable of possessing the living responds with they were joking and they are good people.Laura responds with we will see before billie Skype messages with Let's Play A Game pitching the drinking game Never Have I Ever to the group which Jess immediately recognizes.
billie explains in this version that the loser doesn't drink however the loser dies. Blaire not knowing the game or how to play has billie ask one of the others to explain the rules and Jess explains it is a series of questions to which had you done what the question asks you put a finger down, one hand five fingers, the one who loses all their fingers is the loser. Adam who has had his lights shut back on for him by billie then jumps in despite along with Jess protesting to not want to participate. The first question is Never Have I Ever started the rumor that Blaire has an eating disorder to which Jess puts a finger down for. The second question is Never Have I Ever crashed Jess' mom's car to which Blaire puts a finger down for and an argument ensues to which an already by that point drunk Adam hones in on. The third question is Never Have I Ever made out with Laura Barns to which Mitch puts a finger down for and informs Blaire that Laura a year ago came onto him after the kiss he turnt her down and nothing happened. The fourth question is Never Have I Ever sold Adam out to the cops for selling weed to which Mitch admits at last minute after Adam jumps to the conclusion Jess must of done. Adam becomes enraged at Mitch and the two begin arguing as Adam informs him he was put handcuffs because of that, had almost got a criminal record and his dad had nearly disowned him. The fifth question is Never Have I Ever stole 800 dollars from Adam to which Jess puts a finger down and Adam spirals further into a state of rage. The sixth question is Never Have I Ever offered to trade Jess' life for my own to which as the countdown nearly ends Adam puts a finger down for and is met with angry responses from both Jess and Mitch. Adam drunk, angry and feeling victimized asks billie to pitch in his own questions beginning with Never Have I Ever had sex to which he, Jess and a last minute Blaire put their fingers down. Mitch surprised and confused then has it to revealed to him that Blaire lost her virginity drunk to Adam in a brief, twice met affair as Adam follows up with Never Have I Ever fucked my boyfriend's best friend.An argument then interrupts out between a rage filled Mitch, distraught Blaire and argumentative Adam.
billie turns on Blaire's Spotify and plays the Connie Conway song How You Lie, Lie, Lie as the group descends into an argument minus a shocked, crying and ushering away Jess. Mitch then pitches in and turns the game to his vengeful advantage and begins with Never Have I Ever roofied Ashley Dane which forces Adam to put a finger down and another as he follows with Never Have I Ever forced Ashley Dane to get an abortion. billie then uploads to youtube the video of Blaire and Adam's first time and Mitch watches in a saddened shock. Adam and Blaire attempt to apologize to Mitch who is only willing to listen to Blaire who explains the brief two time affair. Adam demands that billie come over that he is ready for him with his father's gun only to suddenly receive a printing of something. Upon reading he states he cannot reveal the note to the others and Blaire herself then receives a printed note which she cannot reveal.Mitch upon threatening to walk and receiving death threats from billie should he do so prompts Blaire in desperation to reveal her note which states if revealed will cause of the death of Adam, Adam then fires upon himself with his fathers gun and his note is shown stating that had he revealed his she would of have died instead.
Adam is then disconnected from the group convo leaving only Blaire, Mitch and Jess. Jess distraught becomes angry at Blaire for desperate act and billie proceeds to continue with the game this time having a direct question for Jess, Never Have I Ever defaced Laura Barn's grave. Blaire tells Jess not to answer and as Jess remains seated in shock the lights go out in her room causing her to scream as Blaire and Mitch tell Jess to run. Jess as her bedroom door opens runs to her ensuite bathroom and locks herself in with her webcam.Blaire then goes for help on Chatroulette and after several unsuccessful conversations finds a friendly woman from Nevada who agrees to contact the Fresno, California police and send them to Jess' house.
Jess' webcam then begins to buffer as she is seen struggling back and forth with an invisible force screaming no. Jess is then briefly disconnected from Skype before her Skype calls Blaire and Mitch back.Her webcam buffers through and reveals her atop her closed toilet gagging to death on her on electric hair straightener.
Jess is then disconnected from the convo leaving a broken Blaire and Mitch. Blaire then receives a facebook notification that Jess has uploaded a photo which is a meme of her death with the titling Looks Like She Finally Learnt To STFU. Blaire and Mitch's lights in their rooms then go out and Mitch followed by Blaire's webcams then go into buffering before returning. Mitch scopes Blaire's room for her presence and Blaire asks Mitch if he hates her to which he replies with he loves her. billie then finishes the game with Never Have I Ever posted the video of drunk Laura.Blaire and Mitch protest their innocence and Blaire receives a facebook message from Laura stating she knows she wouldn't do this and asking what why she is protecting him.
A countdown begins in Skype messaging and Blaire finally succumbs to honesty and facebook messages it was him. Mitch is then seen impaling himself in the left portion of his face with his kitchen knife and is then disconnected leaving Blaire alone screaming and crying. Laura thanks Blaire on facebook through message crediting it as a hard decision and stating there is one more thing as another Skype message countdown begins. Blaire attempts to bargain with her friendship with Laura displayed over facebook with shared photos of the two tracing back to the two as young girls. billie recalls the memories fondly and then Blaire receives a notification for a tagging in an uploaded video by Laura on facebook. The video the end of the Laura Barns Kill Urself video which shows Blaire was the camera-man and hate filled comments flood her notifications and shock her still. Laura ends her facebook messages with I wish I could forgive you and what you have done will live here forever. billie then disconnects from Skype and Blaire hears her bedroom door creak open as suddenly hands close her laptop. Blaire realizes that Laura is about to kill her by saying "Laura"? Immediately after, a monstrous apparition of Laura then suddendly descends upon Blaire to kill her and she makes one final scream thus ending the film. A post-credits sequence reveals Blaire was dismembered at the primary limbs by a garden shed chainsaw and taken photos of which are uploaded through her facebook with the caption Share this in 24 hours or you die.
- Heather Sossaman as Laura Barns
- Matthew Bohrer as Matt Borsen
- Courtney Halverson as Val Rommel
- Shelley Hennig as Blaire Lily
- Moses Storm as Mitch Roussel
- Will Peltz as Adam Sewell
- Renee Olstead as Jess Felton
- Jacob Wysocki as Ken Smith
- Mickey River as Dank Jimmy
- Cal Barnes as Rando Pauls
- Anthony Eftimeo as Student
- Michael Herbig as Officer (uncredited)
- Tony Hernandez as Himself (uncredited)
- Konstantin Khabenskiy as Officer (uncredited)
- Denis Lyons as Student (uncredited)
List of deathsEdit
List of deaths in the film Unfriended!
|Name||Cause of Death||Killer||On Screen||Notes|
|Laura Barns||Severe Head Trauma: shot in the head with a gun||Laura Barns||Yes||Laura Barns committed suicide and filmed it, after being horrendously bullied after a video of her being drunk was posted online.|
|Val Rommel||Poisoning: was forced to drink bleach||Val Rommel under Laura Barns' influence||No||This death was staged as a suicide|
|Ken Smith||Exsanguination: cut his throat with the blade of a blender||Ken Smith under Laura Barns' influence||Yes||Ken was forced to mangle his hand into a blender, before he could smash it to pieces. After destroying the blender, he was forced to slit his throat.|
|Adam Sewell||Severe Head Trauma: shot in the head with a gun||Adam Sewell under Laura Barns' influence||Yes||Adam was forced to shoot himself through the mouth by Laura, after he forced Blaire to reveal the note Laura gave her, which stated that he would die if, she did reveal the note.|
|Jess Felton||Exsanguination/Impalement: got stabbed in the mouth with a curling iron||Laura Barns||No||After Jess' death, Laura posted a picture of her death, made into a meme.|
|Mitch Roussel||Severe Head Trauma/Impalement: Stabbed in the eye with a kitchen knife||Mitch Roussel under Laura Barns' influence||Yes||Killed when Blaire outed him as the one who posted the video|
|Blaire Lily||Dismemberment: being dismembered with a chainsaw.||Laura Barns||Yes||Post Credit Scene, she was murdered after Laura revealed her to be the real poster of the video. Her death was photographed and posted to her friends with the warning it should be shared or they would die within in 24 hours.|
At the start of the project, the film was named Offline. Its themes of cyberbullying attracted Gabriadze, who noted that the nature of bullying had changed over the years, or rather evolved as the internet allowed bullies to continue their actions, even when the victim was at home. The production itself took 16 days in total, which included six days of 12-hour of the principal photography, three days of pick-ups and a few reshoots later on. The first takes were around ten minutes in lenght which according to some of the actors made it hard to put real energy and motivation in their role. At the requist of Shelley Henning, who portrayed Blaire, at least one full, 80-minute long take was filmed. During the take, each actor was placed in a separate room with a computer. From this, the film's ending was captured.
The title of the film was changed twice in total. The original title was Offline was altered to Cybernatural, because the film's crew believed the original title to be "too general and not obvious". Later, for the wide release, it was dubbed Unfriended.
A teaser trailer was released in July 2014, still sporting the title, Cybernatural. Its first official trailer was released on January 12, 2015, also revealing the name change to Unfriended. With the help of Kik Messenger, on February 13, 2015, an online campaign was released that allowed Kik users to have a chat conversation with Laura. The responses given by Laura, where automated and pre-scripted responses. It also drove users to a dedicated microsite.
As part of its marketing campaign, it was shown at Playlist Live and SXSW. On the day of its screening on SXSW, a chat box was available for viewers to chat with Laura. At the end of each conversation, scenes from the film appeared on the screen. Images were also released. After its premiere on SXWS an after-party was hosted by Blumhouse. At SXSW, an exclusive "Never Have I Ever" cards were released and "Never Have I Ever" section was set up on the film's website. Unfriended-themed photo booths were set up as well. It was also revealed that during production, official Facebook, Skype and Twitter accounts were set up for the film's characters. Everyone who attended the screening at SXSW, got "friended" by the official Laura Barns Facebook account, while attendees of the after-party got tweeded by the twitter account
On July 20, 2014, Unfriended (under the title, Cybernatural) premiered at the Fantasia Festival, in Montreal, Quebec in Canada. After receiving it general positive reception and test screenings, it got a wide release the following release after its rights were being picked up Universal Pictures. It was also renamed to Unfriended. It was first screened at Playlist Live, on February 6, 2015 and at SXSW on March 13, 2015, before receiving a theatrical release on April 17, 2015.
On August 11, 2015, Unfriended was released on DVD and Blu-ray.
Unfriended grossed $15,845,115 during its opening weekend, being the third highest grossing film of that weekend, after Furious 7 and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Its success was the biggest debut for an original horror film, since The Conjuring, which was released in July 2013.
In total, it grossed $32,482,090 domestically and $64,056,643 globally, when compared to its 1,000,000 makes it a great success.
Unfriended received mixed to positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it was rated 63% (150 reviews), with an average score of 6/10. Unfriended received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The site's critical consensus reads, "Unfriended subverts found-footage horror cliches to deliver a surprisingly scary entry in the teen slasher genre with a technological twist." The film had a score of 59% on Metacritic.
At the Fantasia Film Festiva, the reception was mostly positive, with common praise for its acting and visuals. On the festival it was named the Most Innovative Film and did receive a Special Mention for Feature Film. Twitch Film praised it for its take on modern communication and the rammifications of the new normal of always-on social interaction." It was considered to be clever and innovative, by Variety, although they also commented on the fact that the film was "exasperating" at points. The film was also praised on Dread Central, but they did criticize the film for "the fashion in which we are trafficked to each scare- through multi-screen clicking, copying, pasting and re-sizing, basically all-around multi-tasking. It can be trying to sit through and I liken it to sitting over someone's shoulder watching them web-surf... endlessly.", considering it the mayor flaw of the film
Mark Kermode, a British film critic, stated that the film understands skyping culture and cyber-bullying perfectly. He said, "Many people who've seen the trailer say, 'You're being stalked through the internet. Just log off.' The point is they can't because they're addicted." While on one hand admitting it was a "shrieky, teen-terrorized, slasher movie," on the other hand he said it was a film about how cyber-bullying only works if you cooperate with it.
Donald Clarke, Irish film critic writing for The Irish Time, was very pleased with the film, calling it "genuinely unsettling", while also congraluting the filmmakers for their "uncanny grasp of the complicated dynamics of contemporary interaction" their ability to "[retain] a position on the moral high ground while bloody mayhem rages around their feet".
Not all critics were positive about the film however, as both Brad Jones and David Gobble reviewed the film very negatively, calling it repetitiven irritating, unoriginal and insufferable. According to these critics, it was based on entirely on an awful gimmick and Gobble went even so far to call it the third worst film of 2015, after Do You Believe? and War Room. Others pointed out that film did contain severl uninentionally amusing moments that detracted from the experience. Lou Lumenick (New York Post) and Lauren Chval pointed out that for example the scenes where Blaire's pleas for help on Chatroulette as well as the dialogue of Laura, where rather humourous, instead of frightening. In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave Unfriended an average grade of "C", on an A+ to F scale.
Blumhouse Productions has confirmed that a sequel has been greenlit and began development.