Popular college student Laura (Alycia Debnam Carey) thinks the worst is over when obsessed classmate Marina (Liesl Ahlers) commits suicide. But when Laura’s friends start to die shortly after her death, she realises that the worst is yet to come…
Friend Request is exactly what you’d expect it to be. A group of friends getting killed off one by one, suffering unremarkable deaths at the hands of a supernatural force while everyone thinks our leading lady is going crazy/behind it all (deep breath…) until the remaining few finally decide to believe her and they all resolve to go on some bullshit road-trip to find a way to put a stop to the evil that stalks them once and for all… Come on guys, we could write this kind of shit in our sleep by now.
Admittedly all the jump scares are where they should be, for once. There’s no excess, except where volume is concerned. It’s difficult to judge a truly effective jump scare when I feel like I’m Jason Miller and William Friedkin is standing behind me with a loaded gun!
What also fell short for me was the lack of intensity in the portrayal of Marina’s obsession. In today’s world, if stalking someone is as easy as clicking onto someone’s Facebook, Snapchat or twitter page and browsing through media that they have posted up there for the world to see, it never actually feels like she’s doing anything wrong. There needs to be a violation, an intrusion. But how can there be when everything is served up to her on a silver platter.
Never mind the fact that this movie is beyond predictable. Was there ever really a point in making it after the much more inventive Hacked (2013) or Unfriended (2014)? I guess one could describe it as a less bloody version of Chain Letter (2009) or a less shit version of Smiley (2012), except without all the misplaced existential bullshit. So in the case of cyber horror, this one finds itself on middle ground. Just barely.