Written By: HR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Stephen Susco
Writer: Stephen Susco
Producers: Timur Bekmambetov, Jason Blum
Date Released: July 20, 2018
Colin Woodell as Matias
Stephanie Nogueras as Amaya
Betty Gabriel as Nari
Rebecca Rittenhouse as Serena
Andrew Lees as Damon
Connor Del Rio as AJ
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Matias O’Brien finds a laptop that was seemingly previously owned by someone named “Norah C. IV.” During a game night with his five other friends, Matias shows off his new computer and eventually discovers that there is a cache of hidden files on it with disturbing videos of abuse to kidnapped women.
In the middle of their conversation about the mystery of the laptop, an anonymous group of people messaged them and warned them that if they disconnect or call the police, they will be in grave danger. What was originally planned as a fun game night between friends quickly turned into something dangerous, sinister, and tragic, as they fight off a menacing group form what is called the “dark web.”
Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) was shot almost entirely as a computer screen capture. The opening had Matias boot up the new laptop he got, and the audience gets to see him through the computer’s webcam. He worked on the app he is developing for his girlfriend on the computer, and he and his group of friends had their chat in the computer as well.
The horror of the film came mostly from the mystery of the group that owned the laptop, their involvement in the supposed crimes committed to the women shown in the files, and the extent of what they can do to the group of friends involved in the “game.”
However, when the time came for it, the film made sure that those who died, died gruesome deaths. Though not much blood was shown, the buildup to the danger and the suspense that leads to their imminent demise made their ends just as chilling and scary.
The Grave Review
The strength of Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) is in its premise: what happens if there really exist an unknown force that can mess with the people from the darkest corners of the web? The film was a good scare and a gripping experience that will keep the audience holding on to their seats, waiting for what will happen next.
However, the film suffered a bit due to its pacing. The film started slow, and it only picked up several minutes into it when Matias finally realized that there are suspicious files from the mysterious laptop that he just got. The computer screen format also added to the slow feel of the build-up. With not much action going on and just people talking on a computer screen, it gets dull and boring after some time. Luckily, the film picked up the pace and continued to rise gradually from there.
On the other hand, the computer screen format of the film helped in bringing the audience in the same ambience as the characters. What does it feel to face a faceless enemy that can do almost everything to you, but you can do nothing about it? You just watch and wait for what will happen next to you and your friends. This was when the people from “The Circle” started going after Matias’s friends one by one, for the reason that he attempted to “mess” with them.
The film has three different endings to keep the audience guessing on the outcome. One was the one that most viewers saw that was on the theatrical and home/digital video release, and others were included as a bonus deleted scene. Other endings altered the final fate of some characters, but all share the same element that the whole incident was a carefully planned and strategically set up situation that was streamed live for patrons of the dark web.
Overall, Unfriended: Dark Web managed to deliver a good scare, commendable suspense, and a riveting twist. However, the same format and story would not work for a sequel, as the audience already knows the stakes and the big reveal at the end would fall flat already. Thus, Unfriended: Dark Web is a one-lap ride only.
Unfriended: Dark Web is a good scare ride, but you can only enjoy it once.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) two and one-half graves out of five graves.
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