Social media gets a creepy makeover with the new horror flick Friend Request. As we enter the Halloween season and more and more horror films hit the box office, it's only right that we should know just how scary Friend Request is before heading into the theater. It's safe to say that when you consider its premise and the fact that some of the trickery used to bring this chilling tale to life looks eerily real, Friend Request is most likely going to be one of the scariest films you'll watch all autumn long. Prepare yourself for the chills to come.
The plot of Friend Request brings the intensity right from the get-go. Following the film's college-age protagonist, Laura, we watch as she processes the supernatural and eerie fallout from the death of one of her classmates, Marina. It turns out that Marina had some occult extracurricular hobbies that serve as a springboard to torment Laura after Laura deletes Marina from her Facebook friends list when Marina gets too clingy. Clearly affected by Laura's actions, Marina films a warning for Laura and proceeds to film her death by suicide. Uploading it to social media, the video comes to haunt Laura and her friends in unexpected ways and they try to figure out why Marina's tormented spirit is killing them one by one.
OK, so that sounds totally chilling, right? It's not like Friend Request is based on a true story, but that doesn't mean the reality of the situation, to a certain extent, doesn't provide room for us to feel totally on edge while we watch it. Perhaps what makes it so unnerving is that the elements that make the story feel so real are because they're drawn from real life. We all deal with our friends over the internet on a daily basis and we have all, most likely, had to decide whether or not we should stay friends with someone online. Unfriending someone is big and that emotional fallout is just as heavy; no wonder it now serves as the basis for a very trippy horror film made in 2017.
Interestingly, Friend Request has similar elements to the equally scary horror film Unfriended. Just as scary, Unfriended was a 2014 found-footage style film told through the ongoing group Skype chat of a small squad of friends discussing the anniversary of the death of one of their friends. Their chat is invaded by a supernatural entity who proceeds to kill them off, one by one.
Like Friend Request, Unfriended is couched in a world we can identify with while bringing in elements of the paranormal that totally push the boundaries of what we know and feel comfortable with. In an evolving commentary on the ways in which social media interacts with and profoundly affects our lives, both Unfriended and Friend Request darkly conclude that if you're not careful, your actions can come back to haunt you; nothing is simple or final, even with just a mouse click.
That may seem like a heavy-handed conclusion for a horror film aimed at teens, but the realities of these problems, interpreted and remolded to fit a certain horror genre arc, are very ripe for the picking. There's nothing quite as scary or dangerous as the Internet these days, so it's only natural that it would serve as the basis for a horror film. That means that while Friend Request is going to bring in elements of the supernatural or the occult to make sure you leave feeling thoroughly unnerved, the means by which it brings those scares will feel even more real and more uncomfortable because you, the viewer, can relate so well to what is going on. Scary, right?