The trolling is coming from inside the house! Mere emojis can't capture the plugged-in joys of the first hour or so of haunted-internet teen flick Unfriended, which knives with dexterous wit The Way We Live Now. Here's a clutch of horny high school dopes hanging out on Skype, getting doxed to death by what seems to be the vengeful ghost of Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman), a young woman who committed suicide a year before. (She had been cyberbullied.)
We see this play out exclusively through the screen of another young woman's laptop: Blaire (Shelley Hennig) indulges in amusingly listless sex-chat with her boyfriend, Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), scored to songs from her Spotify account. Sometimes, after a scare, she'll Google something related to it. She exchanges tense instant messages -- we see her type a truth, hesitate, then erase it in favor of a more politic response. Some of these IMs go to that ghost. Blaire will hit send and wait while the filmmakers stir up fresh tension from banal details of our tech lives, like the checked box saying the message has been "seen." You know the cats that, in most horror films, are good for a fake-out scare or two? Here, ingeniously, their role is played by a pop-up ad.
So, yes, this movie is 85 minutes of watching someone else use a computer. Director Levan Gabriadze is adept at the sinking something's not right creepiness too few horror films dig into. His techniques are certain to be copy-pasted by imitators. What might be wonderful is if they were applied to something other than the jubilant murder of morally dubious teens. How about a laptop rom-com?