The imagery in this film is just fantastic, especially in the clips you see on the Facebook account for "Ma Rina". We're talking creepypasta stuff, here. When I saw her profile, the first thing I said to Jay was, "I'd hit 'friend' in a heartbeat. That's my kind of freak." Though that might say more about me than the movie. 🤣
Friend Request also cleverly overlays social media boxes and info over the film. It's a great way to do it. Sometimes, movies with a heavy social media influence get lazy and just focus on the messages or whatnot for ages, which slows the action and leads to the movie just being boring. Not the case with Friend Request. By using overlay for the friends number, messages, etc., it keeps the plot going while still giving viewers vital information.
Let's talk plot. Alycia Debnam-Carey's Laura is a college student and an honestly nice person -- which makes the horror even better because you don't want anything bad to happen to her. (No one cares what happens to the douche in a horror movie, right?) All Laura wants to do is be nice to loner, Marina (Liesl Ahlers). She doesn't do anything wrong. She doesn't deserve what happens to her. It's some of the scariest horror there is, when karma takes a vacation.
Laura's horror over not being able to delete her social media account is one I think a lot of us share, even if we don't realize it. Anything can go viral these days -- from that video your friend snuck of you picking your nose to the one you captured of that dude barfing in an alley. No experience belongs to just us anymore.
In that way, social media in Friend Request could be seen as an allegory for identity. Who we are can be twisted and blown out of proportion (not often by a killer witch, though, to be fair) and there's nothing we can do about it. That's what makes Friend Request such an effective horror film.
I'm pretty sure the meaning of Friend Request is supposed to be something along the lines of "Social media is bad!" but, honestly... I picked up on two other, more prominent themes. One, don't talk to strangers. That's some pretty solid advice, right there. Don't our parents teach us that as soon as we learn to talk?
The other theme is much more toxic, and one I take issue with. It suggests that the weirdos of the world are evil and dangerous. Speaking as one of the world's weirdos, I'd like to say, "Nuh uh!" Movies like Fiend Request need to stop making the outcasts evil murderers because that teaches the people watching them to treat the outcasts (even more) poorly. What is it Albie says? "Treat people like scum, they start ACTING like scum."
Okay, one more grumble before I move on. I am more than a little tired of rape being used as a plot device. Of the last four movies I've seen, three of them had women (and, worse, young girls) being raped... well, just because.
Fuck off with that shit. Rape is not a plot tool!
Yes, sometimes it's absoutely necessary to explain and develop a person's character. On the other hand, not every pissed off woman has been a victim of rape. The patriarchy gives us so many other reasons to be pissed off.
Oh, and not every woman who has been rapd becomes a psycho killer.
This mini-rant isn't directed at Friend Request; it's directed at the film industry as a whole. I wanted to make that clear because, sometimes, the hubs assumes my indignation reflects dislike of a film -- and it doesn't always. Certainly not in this case. I loved Friend Request.
The acting is good, the plot is solid, and the jumps are scary as shit. You can't really ask for more from a horror movie. (And, honestly, a lot of horror movies fail to nail even one.) Friend Request scared the crap out of me when I watched it and, after, I had to sleep with the lights on. Yeah... let's say I slept. 😳
If you've seen Friend Request and want to discuss it, I'd love to hear from you. If you have a suggestion for similar movies that I might enjoy, get in touch. Until next time, thanks for stopping by.