September 19, 2016 Friend Request (Movie Review)
The online social media world can often be intimidating, stressful, and even frightening. German Director Samuel Verhoeven (Men in the City 2009, Men in the City 2 2011) and Writers Matthew Ballen (Boys Don’t Cry 1999, I Am Root Beer 2013) and Philip Koch (Lumen 2007, Picco 2010) encompassed what millions of people, especially young adults, go through in the digital playground with cyber-harassment, but with a ghostly variety in Friend Request. Not to be confused with the 2013 film of the same name starring Anthony Michael Hall, 2016’s Friend Request was released in Germany on January 7th via Warner Bros. Pictures, it is scheduled for domestic release in the USA October 7th through Freestyle Releasing.
The film gathers young celebrities such as Alycia Debnam-Carey (Into the Storm 2014, Fear the Walking Dead 2015) as Laura, Liesl Ahlers (Rock and Roll 2012, The Challenge Disaster 2013) as the creepy Marina, Connor Paolo (Mystic River 2003, Revenge 2011) as Kobe, Brit Morgan (She Wants Me 2012, Brotherly Love 2014) as Olivia, Brooke Markham (Guidance 2015, Dying to Kill 2015) as Isabel, and William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Royal series) as Laura’s boyfriend, Tyler, to make one of the scariest movies thus far.
Laura seems to have the perfect life with the perfect friends and the perfect boyfriend. Her college life is just beginning and her popularity is reaching its peak at 800 plus friends both in person and on social media. When a mysterious girl named Marina, who happens to have trichotillomania disorder (hair-pulling), befriends her, soon Laura finds out that her perfect life is going from people wanting to be her to wanting to be away from her. Albeit from all her friend’s and boyfriend’s advice, Laura feels compassion for Marina and agrees to befriend her, becoming her only online friend. When Marina starts showing signs of obsession, Laura decides to cut ties with her for good.
Flash-forward to some days later, Laura finds out Marina has committed suicide and begins to wonder the reason behind it. Later, a video message is sent from Marina’s profile page and it has her suicide in it. Marina’s creepiness was amplified by the fact that her whole life revolved around dark Witchcraft and the Occult. One by one, Laura’s friends begin to feel Marina’s wrath. Digging deep into Marina’s past, Laura discovers the horrors the Gothic girl went through and learns about a terrible past Marina lived, and how this is affecting Laura’s present.
It has been more than ten years that people have been able to communicate via online using various methods of social media. A lot of good things have come from it, but more bad things emerge as well. Cyber-bullying and cyber-harassing are just two of the bad things, and Laura found out the hard way to never, ever double-cross a girl who she had zero friends in common and whom she thought was only helping out of pity.
Friend Request is one of those films which scares a person about every ten minutes. People get scared to even go to the restroom, feeling something eerie may reflect back in the mirror, and this is what makes this Thriller a very well-done film. The director had a purpose when making this movie, and the purpose was excelled with flying colors. For true Horror fans, Friend Request arrived just in time for Halloween and will definitely be one of the movies to play, and replay, for the next few years. CrypticRock gives Friend Request 4 out of 5 stars.