FRIEND REQUEST – Film Review

Simon Verhoeven’s Friend Request is yet another horror feature that uses social media as its main plot gimmick. But does this film stand out from the rest, or is it just more of the same?

A young teenage college student named Laura Woodson (Alycia Debnam-Carey) has a lot of friends and often gets together with them on weekends and socially interacts with them. One day at the school, Laura notices a student who is extremely lonely with no friends named Marina Mills (Liesl Ahlers). Outside of classes, Laura attempts to make friendly conversation with Marina, which leads to her believing that the two are now best friends. Afterwards, Marina becomes quickly obsessed with Laura and frequently tries to talk with her. Eventually, Laura begins to be heavily creeped out by Marina’s obsessive behavior and unfriends her on a social media network, which causes Marina to commit suicide. Her main goal is now to kill all of Laura’s friends to show her what it is like to be lonely.

This film genuinely showcases every thing that is wrong with horror films today. Friend Request is absolutely littered with tropes such as loud, sudden noises and false and frequent jumpscares, as well as a ridiculously predictable plot. In fact, the jumpscares present here are so incredibly annoying that it actually started to become majorly tedious.

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Liesl Ahlers (left) as Marina Mills and Alycia Debnam-Carey (right) as Laura Woodson in Friend Request (2016)

All of the other lead characters, Tyler McCormick (William Moseley), Kobe (Connor Paolo), and Olivia Mathison (Brit Morgan) are some of the most unlikeable characters in a horror film in quite some time. They are constantly shown to be horrible people that have no sympathy for other people and so whenever something comes up to scare them, it is relatively hard to feel any remorse for any of them due to their rude nature. The only character that did not really deserve any of this is lead protagonist Laura who actually is not that annoying. Some of the things she does in the film are a bit questionable but she is by far the one that was the most likeable of the bunch.

Corny, cringe-worthy, and baffling are just a few words to describe the dialogue in Friend Request. There are so many lines in the film that will make you cringe and question how these lines were written in an actual script. In particular, the majority of these awful lines are present within the first act of this picture. Typically, these lines are spoken by Morgan’s character Olivia.

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Alycia Debnam-Carey (left) as Laura Woodson and William Moseley (right) as Tyler McCormick in Friend Request (2016)

In addition, the makeup work in the film was really strange and largely overdone. Every character in this film is constantly stressed out and are obviously missing a couple of hours of sleep at night. When individuals lose sleep and are stressed out regularly, they start to develop bags under their eyes and it becomes clear that they have not been sleeping well. However, in Friend Request, this was shown so heavily that it actually was a bit ridiculous. All of the main protagonists have deep purple makeup underneath their eyes and it looks silly.

There is nothing to be interested with in this story as well. It is truthfully difficult to become invested in a story that is only focused on goofy teenage arguments and other bizarre plot lines.

Anybody that actually was enjoying the film will certainly not be too pleased with how it all concludes either. In fact, it would come as a big surprise if most people do enjoy this ending as it will more than likely anger people heavily.

Friend Request is littered with major horror tropes, unlikeable characters, and a story that is too silly to be invested in.

Overall Grade: F

MPAA Rating: Rated R for horror violence, disturbing images, and language

Cast: Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan

Directed by: Simon Verhoeven

Distributed by: Warner Bros. (Germany), Entertainment Studios (United States)

Running Time: 92 minutes

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