Chad's Review Of "Unfriended: Dark Web"
Technology can be a very fickle beast. It’s evolution over the course of history to aid and educate humanity in ways we ever dreamed possible, taking processes that took hours to mere moments through computed routines, automating our homes, and even helping us plan our lives by letting us know what is near us at any given moment, it’s all pretty astounding. Now, saying all of that, it is import that our tech plays by the rules so we don’t wind up in a place that mirrors “Ex Machina”. There will always be individuals or groups of people that will find ways to hack or exploit any form of tech to bend it to their often nefarious will, and this is the subject matter of “Unfriended: Dark Web”.
The follow up to the 2015 film that shares the first word in its title in which five friends are haunted online by a former friend they all thought had committed suicide on a viral video, this sequel-of-sorts chooses to go past the supernatural element and decides to stand on its own with a new setting, cast, and a much more unsettling premise. Here, Matias (Colin Woodell) “acquire” a used laptop that he is using to develop a program that will interpret sign language so he can better communicate with his girlfriend, Amaya (Stephanie Nogueras). While digging around the hard drive as he is participating in an online Skype “game night” (the original title for the film, which was changed after the Jason Bateman film) with A.J. (Connor Del Rio), Damon (Andrew Lees), Lexx (Savira Windyani), Serena (Rebecca Rittenhouse), and Nari (Betty Gabriel), Matias uncovers some very disturbing footage in a hidden folder and is contacted by its original owner demanding its return. As the night goes on, the nature of the laptop’s contents are revealed, and Matias and his friends find themselves targets of the laptop’s owner, who will do ANYTHING to get his property back.
After the first film had very little impact on me, I had very low expectations here, so I was incredibly surprised in how effective and disturbing this one is. By revealing a dark underbelly of the World Wide Web that has only really been talked about in whispers, this truly is a cautionary tale of what could happen if our dependence on technology becomes our common sense instead of relying on that for ourselves. “Unfriended: Dark Web” is dark and unsettling that at eighty-eight minutes runs quickly and doesn’t let up, making itself an ultra-modern horror film with a unique take on the “found footage” genre that will put some off due to it’s simplicity and predictability, which is characteristic of the genre itself. Despite this, it still packs quite a punch, so be prepared to nervously scramble for your cell phone in order to update your security settings as you leave the theater.