FRIEND REQUEST (director/writer: Simon Verhoeven; screenwriters: Matthew Ballen/Philip Koch/; cinematographer: Jo Heim; editors: Denis Bachter/Tom Seil; music: Gary Go/Martin Todsharow; cast: Alycia Debnam-Carey (Laura), Liesl Ahlers (Marina), William Moseley (Tyler), Connor Paolo (Kobe), Brit Morgan (Olivia), Brooke Markham (Isabel), Sean Marquette (Gustavo), Liesl Ahlers (Marina), Susan Danford (Caroline Woodson), Shashawnee Hall (Detective Cameron), Nicholas Pauling (Office Dempsey); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Max Wiedemann, Quirin Berg. Co-Producers: Stefan Gartner, Simon Verhoeven, Giselher Venzke, Bertha Spieker, Mark Popp; Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures; 2016-Germany/South Africa-in English)
“A senseless and forgettable second-rate horror film.“ Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzA senseless and forgettable second-rate horror film with unnecessary gruesome images and wooden acting, that’s limply directed by the German born Simon Verhoeven (“Men in the City”/”100 Pro”). He co-writes it with Matthew Ballen and Philip Koch, with some really pathetic dialogue. It depicts social media as a place that can become demonic. Though it provides a few creepy chills from jumpy scares, there’s no logic to the unpleasant story and no way for me to care what it’s getting at, if anything.The popular Laura Woodson (Alycia Debnam-Carey) receives a Facebook friend request from Marina Mills (Liesl Ahlers), the shy loner and socially awkward girl in her psychology class, and briefly accepts her request to be her friend. But when Marina’s odd and clinging behavior bothers her, she shuts her down. Soon afterwards Marina kills herself, or so it seems. But no body is found. What happens next is that from her death Marina releases an evil spirit as revenge for being rejected by Laura. She targets Laura’s circle of friends. The victims targeted include BFF Olivia (Brit Morgan), techie guru Kobe (Connor Paolo), party boy Gustavo (Sean Marquette) and the nice Isabel (Brooke Markham). The list grows wnen the aspiring coroner, Tyler (William Moseley), Laura’s frequent bed partner, also becomes a target. The strange girl’s reasoning is to make Laura as lonely as she is by removing all her friends, as she continues posting messages to Laura that will haunt her till she has no friends and this is to punish her for not being invited to her birthday party. Now if that isn’t a stupid plot, call me Howdy Doodie. Besides Laura’s friends getting stabbed to death, fatally shot and experiencing other horrible deaths, Laura also must deal with the fact that the dead woman’s evil spirit has hijacked her Facebook account and Facebook won’t help her straighten things out. My advice is not to befriend this film, because you’ll probably only waste time seeing such a bad film. The one highlight is the film’s funniest line as delivered by one of Laura’s friends, who tells her to ‘Unfriend that dead bitch!’ . Of note, this rip-off is a copy of Unfriended/Cybernatural (2014), which was somehow a huge hit in Germany.
REVIEWED ON 9/232017 GRADE: D
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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