Warner Brothers, very generously, gave those subscribed to the Frightfest Newsletter the chance to preview the upcoming horror film, Friend Request, for free, an opportunity I eagerly snapped up. Friend Request is another film to add to the canon of Social Media horror films that are slowly gaining an understanding of how the internet is actually used. The most famous example is Unfriended, a horror film set entirely on Skype, which was a hit and used its premise extremely well.
Friend Request is about a strange, outcast and peculiar girl, Mia (Liesl Ahlers), who befriends a popular, pretty and kind girl named Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey). We know this because she has over 800 friends (my cousin has over 1,200 and another facebook friend of mine has 1,676 friends) and always seems to be tagged in the latest party. However, when Mia starts to act strangely and obsessively, Laura removes her from Facebook. This releases an evil, vengeful spirit which intends to make Laura feel lonely by killing all her friends.
Friend Request's tongue in cheek nature and acknowledgement that it's totally ludicrous is the reason why the film is completely watchable. From a horror perspective, the film isn't entirely successful, the film tows the generic horror line with its jump scares which, whilst well crafted, are entirely predictable. Yet the film is utter nonsense, and knowingly so, from the start that it's great fun to sit through.
There are, however, larger problems afoot, the film's themes of loneliness in the digital age could have been developed further. However, the worst problem is that Mia is such a poor character that it's hard to feel sympathy for her, something that would have greatly elevated the film if that were the case as it would have added a level of depth but instead she becomes quite a bland character, lazy stereotype of a character.
The writing certainly isn't the film's strong point, but it's well made, decently acted and rather a lot of fun in a tongue in cheek way (it's almost possible to hear the gasps of horror that this teenage girl may have to delete her Facebook account...the horror….the horror…).