Thursday, May 3, 2018

Friend Request (2016) Through the Eyes of Cat

By Cat

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: Friend Request (2016)
Tagline: Be careful who you click with.
Genre: Thriller, Horror
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion, Seven Pictures, Two Oceans Production
Producers: Byron Allen, Matthew Ballen, Richard Barner, Quirin Berg, Mark Borde, Maren Bouwer, Chris Charalambous, Mark DeVitre, Chad Doher, Abbie Dunn, Carolyn Folks, Stefan Gärtner, Marco Le Roux, Jennifer Lucas, Mark Popp, Patrick Noel Simon, Bertha Spieker, Giselher Venzke, Simon Verhoeven, David Vogt, Max Wiedemann
Director: Simon Verhoeven
Writers: Matthew Ballen, Philip Koch, Simon Verhoeven
Actors: Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Sean Marquette, Liesl Ahlers, Shashawnee Hall
Stunts:  Oliver Bailey, Olivia Jackson

Blurb from Netflix: A popular college student's love of social media becomes her biggest regret when a mysterious account marks each one of her friends for a grisly demise.

When this movie hit theaters, it was my turn for our monthly list of the top movies coming soon. I placed this film as my #12 pick and Selina had this one at #13. For our Top 20 lists to mesh so closely around this movie, it piqued my interest further. That brings me to today!

I was pulling up a random selection to share with you all today, and found this in my list. I recalled how interested I was to see how it compared to movies like Unfriended (2015) and Antisocial (2013). This, especially, because the production team took great pains to distance this movie from the former by going as far as to change its title. When I described my take on it based on watching the trailer, I thought this film would be “super creepy.”

I wasn’t wrong.

I am also extremely glad that I gave this one a chance in spite of the others, which I hadn’t been all that impressed with.

Sure, there were some parts that didn’t entirely jive with me – but those were few and far between. Overall, the story was more cohesive. There were even some twists and turns that caught me off guard. I couldn’t find complaints about any particular actor’s performance. I felt they were all solid. There were some moments that came across as comedic elements that I do not believe were intended to be, but overall the film was filled with a sense of dread as the suspense built.

Was this a jump-scare-riddled recipe movie? Sure, it was. Did I care? Hell no. For one thing, the industry is beginning to become saturated with horror movies taking the leap into cyberspace. Technology is one of society’s greatest and most destructive social tools, after all.  The quality of this film exceeded that of some of the ones that came before. Just because the subject matter is similar, doesn’t make it derivative. Besides, the story here goes to a place that the others didn’t tread – and I’m not talking about the filming location of Cape Town, South Africa.

I, for one, am excited about the quality of this production, and its decided lack of shaky-cam. Just because people can record shaky stuff on their phones these days doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to subject an audience to an entire movie of it – really. I digress.

I want to give serious props to the art department and visual effects team for Friend Request. The animations shown in this movie were trippy, darkly beautiful, and amazed me. Other imagery caused me to be unendingly grateful I hadn’t eaten before – or while – watching this.

All told, this is a solid horror thriller to pick for a late night get together with friends – or even alone. Watch it in the dark and see how many times you jump. 

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English [CC]

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 14%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 29%
Metascore – 31%
Metacritic User Score – 4.3/10
IMDB Score – 5.3/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5

P.S. There are some animations tied to the movie shown through the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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