Horror Movie Review: Friend Request (2016)


Fear it, fear the two words, fear….unknown error. UNKNOWN ERROR!

Those two words are the scariest things that will happen in Friend Request. Why, because that’s the message you get when you try to delete your Facebook profile. You’ll see that happen a lot throughout & it creates unintentional hilarity when it tries to act like this is the equivalent waking up & seeing Pennywise the Dancing Clown sitting at the end of your bed.

That the movie was originally going to be called Unknown Error just makes this whole shambolic mess seem even sadder. Friend Request is not a good movie. It’s not a scary movie. It’s a symptom of a disease that exists in horror now…the over-reliance on jump scares.

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The very first comes within the first 4 minutes & is your standard; someone turns around & is surprised by someone else. All you can do is shake our head & hope it gets better…spoilers, it really doesn’t.

Laura is a really popular girl at her college; we know this as we see her hanging out with friends, family & on Facebook where she has over 800 friends! Wow! Everybody loves Laura & wants to be her friend especially Marina.

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Marina is a loner, unpopular & forgotten about by everyone. Why? She dresses in black, is pale & has interests that might not be to everyone’s taste. It’s proven later that she had a rough childhood & is clearly suffering from metal health issues.

Hardly the most unique of characters to be ostracised at a school/college, Marina is a sad girl & one that is instantly more likeable then anyone else including Laura.

Laura feels sorry for her so decides to befriend her on Facebook. Laura accepts Marina’s friend request (A-ha! Now we have our movie title) making her Marina’s first friend on the social media platform which is utterly stupid.

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The film tries to beat you over the head with just how lonely Marina is but it’s too much to believe she has zero friends on Facebook. As soon as she made her profile & posted some of her art she would have been inundated with requests.

Talking of Marina’s art…

So Laura & her friends get freaked out by the dark & disturbing images on Marina’s profile. Images that are no more disturbing then the latest news report or pop star music video. In fact what they actually show is an amazing amount of creativity & imagination. Marina should be praised for her style, not made to feel like a freak.

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I will admit to hating the way this movie tried to paint Marina as the bad-guy. It’s morale is ‘don’t be friends with the weird girl because if it all goes wrong she will kill herself & return as an evil spirit intent on destroying you’.

Other then getting a bit hot & heavy, I’m still struggling to see just why Laura ends up deleting Marina from her friends (Unfriended? Am I right? Oh yeah, there was already a 2013 movie called that). From where I’m watching Laura is the real villain of this film, befriending a lonely girl to make herself feel better then dropping her like a bad fart at the first sign of trouble.

Sure, you could say that Marina isn’t Laura’s problem. That adding her on Facebook was just a nice thing to do & didn’t constitute a real friendship between the pair. This of course then makes you wonder just how many of those 800 friends Laura has are actually people she gives a shit about.

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Laura is the villain of this movie & she gets exactly what she deserves, as do her horrible friends. A group so unlikable that they make Laura seem like a saint in comparison.

So back to the story…Marina kills herself in some sort of witch ritual after she is rejected by Laura. Laura has the good grace to look a bit horrified by it but ultimately ends up being way more concerned by her friend numbers dwindling on Facebook.

You see, Marina is determined to make sure Laura knows what it’s like to be alone even from beyond the grave.

Cue much jump scares & CGI bees!

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Watch as characters you couldn’t care less about get hurt, die & eventually reject Laura & delete her friendship off Facebook (when they’re not getting the dreaded unknown error).

Scratch your head at the movies insistence that it show you all it’s scary monsters up close early on but put them in the shadows later on. It’s so scary barely seeing something I’ve already seen many times before.

Reach for the ‘off’ button as the movie ends in a lacklustre way befitting of the story told so far.

Friend Request is a bad movie, one that insults the viewer with it’s instance that Marina is a ‘freak’ & that Laura is the perfect example of what a modern popular girl is. A movie that throws jump scare after jump scare at you but lacks any kind of proper imaginative frightful moment.

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A movie that thinks it’s being clever by highlighting the pitfalls of social media (be careful online, kids!) but ends up serving as a sad reminder that we still live in a world where imagination & non-conformity are to be mocked.


Friend Request
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