Oh boy, oh boy. It’s that time of year again, where the studios start churning out terrible horror movies as an effort to cash-in on the easily-manipulated audiences who just want to go see a scary movie and don’t care about the quality. I’m sure that Friend Request will be the first of several to be released in the oncoming weeks and let me tell you, we’re starting off great.
So what happens when a troubled college student with a demented Deviant Art account and cliche 2003 emo tendencies befriends a beautiful girl with a perfect life only to ultimately kill herself? She becomes a disturbed spirit haunting…a Facebook account…apparently. Okay, look, this movie’s just dumb. You know it, I know it, why am I even writing this review? Characters in this movie keep getting messages from this dead girl, when she talks about how she never had any friends. And then, when they try to unfriend her, they get a message saying “there’s an unknown error.” That doesn’t just happen once. That probably happens upwards of twenty times in the film. The main girl is so stupidly stereotyped as “the ideal college girl” that it’s ridiculous. She’s got cool, diverse friends, a rich mom, an artsy Facebook profile, and literally always looks perfect, regardless of the circumstances in the film. When the ghost of this chic she knew for like two weeks starts haunting her via social media, she goes to her friend to figure out how to stop it. To which, he explains to her, he can’t, as the very code itself is possessed. Oooh, spooky.
The movie isn’t even sort of scary. As you’d expect, it’s go to trick is the classic jump scare with an annoying noise and an aggressive cut to try to elicit some sort of a guttural response out of you. Once you’ve desensitized yourself from the constant barrage of annoyances, there’s really no reason to watch it. Somehow, despite the appropriately modern setting, the filmmakers found a way to implement both the scary puritan witches and the orphaned ghost girl cliches into this screenplay. What’s most baffling to me, is the decision to give this movie an R rating. I mean, I’m not saying it doesn’t deserve it, as it tries very hard to make you think it’s disturbing, but usually, lowest common denominator garbage like this is always released with a PG-13 rating. You see, that way, they can cash in on the middle schoolers who are looking for a hot date and can’t get into the really scary stuff, and naively buy a ticket to something that looks moderately spooky, and then walk out not caring because they held the hand of their little twelve-year-old girlfriend the whole time. It’s a perfect system, everyone wins by everyone losing. But just think about it. This movie, by giving itself an R-rating, is going against the likes of It and mother! It is going to make about fourteen dollars total. And six of those were from me. You’re welcome.
Really, what else do you want me to say? The acting? Terrible. The directing? Terrible. The writing? Terrible. This movie isn’t even fun to watch in the, “Oh haha, look at this trainwreck” kind of way. It’s just…bad. It doesn’t even have the novelty of being the only horror movie about Facebook. Unfriended did it first, and better because they at least had the gimmick of existing entirely on a computer screen. What we have here is an attempt to cash in on a poor idea that ultimately will be lost to the winds of time like a laffy taffy wrapper left on the beach. I’d say the only praise I can think of is they did a pretty good job of making a movie in which Facebook is the main plot device, without ever actually saying the word “Facebook.” So, if that’s this movie’s claim to fame, so be it. Perhaps one day a sophomore year film student will write a thesis paper on the matter. God be with him.