Six friends, Blaire, Mitch, Adam, Jess, Kenneth, and Val get on a Skype video call with each other. It seems like this is a nightly thing they do, but on this particular video call, they have an uninvited guest by the name of billie227. The unexpected guest’s face is never seen. What is presented is the standard silhouette avatar used when someone does not upload a profile picture. Also, billie227 does not speak to them verbally, but via the chat option in Skype.
Each tries to get rid of billie277 to no avail. Blaire, who initiated the Skype video calls begins looking up ways to get of uninvited guests, but nothing seems to work. It soon becomes clear that billie227 isn’t a random person but someone who has ties to Laura Burns, a high schooler who took her life. The Skype video call is taking place on the anniversary of Laura’s death and billie227 is there to seek revenge on each of them.
The entire movie is filmed with the audience looking at Blaire’s monitor. It’s almost as if the viewer is Blaire. Each time Blaire switches between the video call to YouTube or to do a search on the Internet the audience is seeing it all. All of Blaire’s searches pertain to Laura’s suicide as well as a party in which Laura is not seen in a flattering way. Not once is the viewer taken from one location to another. Everything seems real, from the glitches in the video call with the delay movements compared to sound, and the pixelating of each caller.
With the ongoing rise in suicides by young people due to cyberbullying, Unfriended (Gabriadze, 2015) really brings home the fact that when someone kills themselves by others everyone is responsible for that person’s death. And those people should be held accountable and that’s what billie227 plans on doing and succeeds with the six people on the video chat call.
This is one psychological thriller (psychological horror) movie that will keep the audience captivated, especially the young crowd who can relate to video chat calls. Since this movie came out in 2015, Skype video calls were the thing and billie227 is very handy with technology. So much so, Kenneth, the tech genius of the group is not able to stop billie227 for billie227 is two steps ahead of everyone.
Unfriended will remind viewers of Searching (Chaganty, 2018) in which a 16-year-old girl goes missing and through present-day and past chats, phone calls, webcam and other technology used to communicate, the audience is with the father through his frantic search for his daughter. Both movies show how technology can be used for good and for bad.
Unfriended is currently playing on HBO at 1 hr and 23 mins and worth every minute.
Side note, this movie should not be confused with another movie of a similar title: Unfriended: Dark Web which is also on HBO. Unfriended and Unfriended Dark Web are part of the Unfriended series but are not tied to each other except everything takes place during a Skype video call.
Unfriended – 2014 – Director: Levan Gabriadze – Country of Origin: USA