Directed By: Levan Gabriadze

Starring: Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, Courtney Halverson, and Heather Sossaman

Modern Family tried something rather interesting earlier this season.  The ABC sitcom did an episode with a rather unique premise.  They did an episode entirely on video chat.  It was a creative risk that paid off.  That format just made its way to the big screen with this past weekend's Unfriended.  While this variation on the mockumentary found footage style paid dividends in the comedic space, the same absolutely cannot be said about horror if Unfriended serves as any indication.

Two years ago on this very night, Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman) has a traumatic cyberbullying experience and kills herself on camera.  Tonight, the people who were once considered her friends are online for a five-way video call via Skype.  It all starts when Blaire (Shelley Hennig) is teasing her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Storm) over Skype.  As things start to get just a little steamy, their friends Jess (Renee Olstead), Adam (Will Peltz), and Ken (Jacob Wysocki) jump in on their call and disrupt things.

All is well as the friends chat the night away until they notice that there's a sixth person on their video call.  It's some user without a profile picture named Billie.  To get rid of him, they try hanging up the call.  They try kicking Billie off the call.  They even try to use malware to get Billie off the call.  It all fails.  The group soon discovers that this Skype user named Billie is actually the former account of their late friend Laura Barns.  Skeptical of what they believe to be a prank, they reach out to their friend Val (Courtney Halverson) whom they all believe to be the prankster.  They all slowly come to terms with the reality that someone far more dangerous is on the other end of this Skype call and that they're about to begin one high stakes game of Never Have I Ever.  Meanwhile, Blaire receives messages from Laura Barns’s account on Facebook.

Comedy works for this perversion of the found footage directorial style with video chat.  For horror, however, this is not so much the case.  Director Levan Gabriadze shoots himself in the foot with this absurd premise.  When internet connections are weak and there's very little of that which is actually supposed to be terrifying, the little slices of horror that are delivered damn well better be the real deal.  As far as I'm concerned, what Unfriended is selling to moviegoers is anything but this.  There are no genuine frights.  Somehow, I can't quite appreciate a kill on the same level when it's buffering on screen.  With all this in mind, Skype, Facebook, and Instagram are clearly not the way to bring on the fear.

Though the narrative is definitely underwhelming, the actors are halfway decent.  Still, the narrative constrains their performances as well.  For the majority of the film, each cast member has approximately one-fifth or one-sixth of the screen.  There's no way for them to establish themselves and draw any emotion out of moviegoers.  The best they can do is yell at each other about their characters' melodrama and hope that something sticks and entertains us.  Well, I'm here to confirm that nothing does.  Mission not accomplished people.

Can you guess which side of the spectrum I'm on when it comes to Unfriended?  If you guessed the side where the drinks are flowing, you're absolutely right.  This is nothing but a waste of good money.  Have some Long Island Iced Teas with this one.  Unfriended gets a 0.09% rating.