“Friend Request” stars Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, and Brit Morgan. Released in Germany on January 7, 2016, followed by a North American release on September 22, 2017, the film is about a college student who is haunted by the spirit of a lonely girl when she unfriends her on Facebook.
The film is directed by Simon Verhoeven, who has acted in films such as Bride of the Wind and The Sinking of the Laconia. Well, it’s official, September is now our second October. I mean, seriously, why are we getting some scary movies in September? Anyway, this film is Hollywood’s latest attempt of bringing the digital age into the horror genre. I think the last time this happened was back in 2015 with “Unfriended”, which was a pretty decent film in my opinion. But this is nothing like “Unfriended”, mostly because it doesn’t take place only on a teenager’s computer screen. It’s basically a regular supernatural horror film that involves social media, which can both be the film’s strength and its downfall. Mostly the latter.
Aside from its passable cast, including Debnam-Carey as Laura Woodson, and its relatable concept involving social media, the film is just like any other below-average horror film that we’ve seen before. What’s even worse is that it offers absolutely nothing new to the genre. I appreciate the route that they’re going for in terms of showing people’s uncomfortable obsessions with their friends on social media, but the direction towards that route not only comes off as weak, but it was overshadowed by a bunch of horror cliches, such as the characters and its amount of predictable jump scares. Because of this, the film’s message is rendered off as entirely pointless. OK, the first jump scare moment caught me off guard, but the rest of them? Totally saw them coming. It also didn’t quite help when none of them scared the heck out of me and came off as somehow annoying. I know that it’s supposed to be made to scare people, I get that, but I think if they explored the message a bit more rather than waste it on a bunch of cheap scares, this film would’ve been more effective.
Overall, if you think that this year’s Unforgettable was cliched, just wait until you see “Friend Request” (or don’t, that’s completely up to you). This film has everything a cliched horror film could’ve asked for: predictable and cheap jump scares, weak characters, and a pointless message. If you’re wondering why I went to see this forgettable horror film in the first place, just remember that it’s only because I enjoy doing this for you guys. If you’re curious about seeing it, I would say wait until it’s on a streaming service or on television or, if you have the guts, on Redbox.