Movie Review — ‘Unfriended’ is Cheap Teenage Horror

Unfriended_9

The following chat conversation was recently leaked online from the Universal servers. It regards the initial pitch meeting between executives and the screenwriter for Unfriended

StarvingWriter9432567 logged in

Writer: Hello? Hello? Is this thing working?

UniversalSoldier1 logged in

Producer 1: Who is this? How did you get this email?
Writer: Um… is this the 10:00 pitch meeting? I wrote a found footage horror movie.
Producer 1: Oh right! As you know following the success of Paranormal Activity we are contractually obligated to meet with any Joe off the street as long as they’re pitching an FFH.
Writer: I am aware. That’s why people write them.
Producer 1: Touche.
Writer: Why are we meeting online again?
Producer 1: Some people find my constant texting during meetings distracting.
Writer: Makes sense.
Producer 1: My colleague should be on his way.

CrazyTrain42069 logged in

Producer 2: WASSUP!
Producer 1: Jerry!
Producer 2:  Let’s git r done!
Producer 1: Classic!
Writer:  So…
Producer 1: Anyway, pitch us your bold new take on cinema verite! You have ten seconds to get our attention.
Writer – I think you guys are really gonna like this.
Producer 2:  I don’t think it matters.
Producer 1: 8 seconds…
Writer: Ahem. Okay, so… the entire film takes place online.
Producer 1: All movies are online now. Do you think people actually go to the theater? The whole industry is basically just one big scam to get people to load up hard drives with ninety minute Pepsi commercials.
Writer: No, I mean the film is a computer browser. All the action takes place with people talking on Skype or sending Facebook messages or watching Youtube videos. It will look something like this:

Unfriended

Producer 1: So like all the things people do while watching a movie, but in the actual movie.
Producer 2: That’s very meta Charlie Kaufman!
Producer 1: Who?
Producer 2: I don’t know.
Producer 1:  I’m intrigued. You have another minute. Continue.
Writer:  So there’s a group of teenagers who are all video chatting online.
Producer 1:  Are they sending dick pics?
Writer:  Not exactly…
Producer 1: Cuz I’m pretty sure that’s what all the teenagers are doing these days.
Producer 2: I do that.
Writer: Well I mean they are posting some revealing stuff on there. And of course they’re sending each other secret messages. Things they wouldn’t want other people to see. But I think for the most part I keep it tasteful.
Producer 1: We’ll workshop it. Anyways…
Writer:  So years earlier the teenagers hazed a girl with videos online, and it wound up causing her to commit suicide. So on the two year anniversary of her death these friends are chatting and someone pops up, and it winds up being the dead girl back to seek revenge.
Producer 2: Oh snap!
Producer 1: How does she kill them through the computer?

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Writer: Well it starts with her just messaging them and sending them creepy videos and taking control of their iTunes.
Producer 1: But how does that kill them?
Writer:  Well… I mean… she just kills them.
Producer 1:  Outside the computer?
Writer:  Right… But we’re watching it on the computer!
Producer 1: I love it. The secret life of American teens would be totally shocking to a modern audience! There are loads of opportunities for gratuitous sexual videos and violence. And imagine all the product placement!

unfriended-2

Producer 2:  Sploosh!
Producer 1: But it’s already been done.
Writer: …I don’t think it has
Producer 1:  Come on! It’s 2015! They did an Internet episode on Murder She Wrote!!! There’s no way this isn’t already a thing. You think anyone would have greenlit The Devil Inside or Apollo 18 if this idea was still out there???
Producer 2:  God those teenagers will watch anything.
Producer 1:  LOL
Producer 2:  OMG
Producer 1: I hate teenagers. I cannot emphasize that enough.
Producer 2:  Can this movie be about how much teenagers suck?
Writer: I don’t…
Producer 1:  My point is that this is clearly something we’ve already made, then probably remade, then made a spinoff of the sequel to the remake.
Writer:  No, I’ve looked all over. I honestly don’t think anyone has done this yet. Not as a feature film at least.
Producer 1:  …
Producer 2:  …
Writer: Hello?
Producer 2:  I feel like Columbus discovering America.
Producer 1: Right! Something that has been there for ages, which other people have been doing and thinking, and we’re going to take it and put a slight spin on it and then it will look like we discovered it all on our own!
Producer 2: Mission Accomplished.
Producer 1:  So what are you going to call this brave new world of ours?
Writer: Wait for it…

unfriended_5

Producer 1: Unfriended?
Producer 2:  LMFAO
Writer: What?
Producer 1: That’s the dumbest title I’ve heard today. And I just greenlit a new Nicholas Sparks flick called The Longest Ride!
Writer: Oh…
Producer 1: I mean it’s perfect. Dumb but perfect. Like Snakes on a Plane! Hard to communicate that kind of nuance online.
Producer 2: Hakuna Matata.
Producer 1:  Well we all don’t have a way with words like you Jerry. So let’s talk the teenagers. How much do they suck?
Writer: Well, I mean they’re deeply flawed, like all people. The main idea is that you can be connected all the time but still never really know the people you are talking to. And I also think there’s something in there about the way the Internet encourages conformity. All these characters are behaving badly and at the same time hypocritically judging everyone for doing the same things. There are their private selves, their public selves, and now I want to explore the online self. Even though it’s a gimmicky, salacious thriller, I like to think I preserved some of the humanity.
Producer 2:  zzzzzzzzzz
Producer 1:  Yeah you’re putting me to sleep… and that’s with three windows of porn playing and a line of coke in my system. They’re teenagers! They’re young. They’re beautiful. They’re sending dick pics. Of course they deserve to die! People willingly accept this with dozens of movies every year. Why would we ever start asking them to think about that?
Producer 2:  Show me the money!
Writer: Well obviously we riff on all the different types of popular technology. The characters will be sent to YouTube links that reveal clues, and their private photos and videos will be posted on Facebook, and the demon suicide girl will occasionally pop up on Skype and be right behind them.
Producer 1:  Will there be a shock scare where someone minimizes a window and the video behind it jumps out and attacks them?
Writer: What do you take me for? Of course that will happen!
Producer 2: Slow clap.
Producer 1: Well I’ve got good news and bad news.
Writer: Yeah?
Producer 1: The good news is that we’re definitely going to make this movie. Hell, since this conversation started I’ve practically finished the advertising campaign. This has months of cheap, effective viral marketing written all over it!

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Writer: That’s amazing! What’s the bad news?
Producer 1: We can’t kill you and take the idea for ourselves.
Writer: Oh… Why not?
Producer 2: Are you kidding??? This is the Internet! There’s always someone else watching.

 

GRADE: 6/10

 

Photos courtesy of: Universal Pictures

 



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