Blu-ray Review Horror

'Unfriended' Blu-ray Review: A found-footage frightener for the digital age

August 12, 2015Ben MK

Every year, it seems like another found-footage horror flick manages to find its way to the multiplexes. And thanks to director Leo Gabriadze's Unfriended, 2015 was no exception.

Unfolding in real-time on one character's computer screen, Unfriended tells the story of a group of high schoolers who are terrorized by what appears to be the ghost of one of their classmates, Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman), who was bullied into taking her own life one year prior. Now, on the anniversary of her death, Laura's back to get her sweet revenge, turning an innocent-enough Skype session between her childhood best friend, Blaire Lily (Shelley Hennig), Blaire's boyfriend, Mitch Roussel (Moses Storm), and their pals, Jess (Renee Olstead), Adam (Will Peltz) and Ken (Jacob Wysocki), into something much more sinister.

Unfriended was originally titled Cybernatural, and it's easy to see why, for screenwriter Nelson Greaves takes the basic principles of the supernatural horror genre and puts a cyber-twist on them. In that respect, it feels like a fresh take on the kind of storyline we've already seen time and time again. However, as far as genuine scares go, the film doesn't really have much bite to back up its bark. Gorehounds will at least enjoy the fact that it does feature a handful of disturbing, though albeit brief, death scenes. Otherwise, this is the stuff of CW network teen dramas at best.

Aesthetically speaking, Unfriended isn't much to look at. As you can imagine, the film's stylistic choices render any discussion of its cinematography virtually moot, and watching Blaire switch between the various windows on her Macbook desktop doesn't make for very interesting visual material. Still, what's shown on-screen is handled very competently by this Blu-ray transfer, which reproduces colors and small bits of text with satisfying fidelity and crystal clarity. The same goes for the movie's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, which gets the job done quite easily given the film's very limited soundstage, which basically consists of mouse clicks, various computer "beeps" and "dings," chat audio and a few screams.

Universal's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack release includes a DVD copy of the movie, as well as an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy. Otherwise, there are no disc-based special features to speak of.

Unfriended is available from Universal Home Entertainment as of August 11th, 2015. The Blu-ray features an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Subtitles are presented in English SDH. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 23 Mins.

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