A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Deals with the pros and cons of social media. It can be fun and feel good to post lots of photos of good times and good friends, but that can also make other people feel lonely and jealous. Raises the question of how to deal with that kind of fallout, especially if people prove too needy/forceful.
Positive Role Models
The main character, who's extremely popular, is also a nice person who tries, in a limited way, to make the new girl feel welcome. But the situation gets out of her control, and from there, she's not much more than a regular horror movie cliché. Characters with a range of body types are present, but there's no notable diversity within the cast.
Violence & Scariness
Jump scares. Suicide video; a character hangs herself and sets herself on fire. Character battered and bloodied. Blood spatters. Brief throat slicing. Burn victim. Dead bodies. A gun shown, used for suicide. Knives and slicing/stabbing. Spooky animation/artwork. Scary dreams. Wasp in ear.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters lie in bed and kiss.
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Uses of "f--k," "s--t," "crap," "shut up," "hell," and "freak," plus "Jesus" and "Christ" (as exclamations).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking among college students. Joke about a girl being a "drunk floozy." Smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Friend Request is a horror movie about college students and social media. It looks at both the positive and negative effects that social media can have on people, which is an intriguing idea. But it's ruined by feeling like it was shoehorned into a horror movie template filled with jump scares and clichés. The gory violence also includes suicides, guns, and knives; characters are battered, stabbed, sliced, and bloodied, and there's scary artwork/imagery. Language is also strong, with many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus insults like "you're a freak." Characters are shown kissing in bed, and there's a joke about being "on my period." College students drink socially, and there's a reference to a woman being a "drunk floozy." Smoking is briefly shown. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This horror movie begins with an intriguing idea -- exploring the pitfalls of social media -- but quickly succumbs to routine setups and payoffs typical of most uninspired ghost stories. Conversely, the thematically similar Unfriended (2014) began with a less intriguing idea, but its execution was far more inspired and terrifying. As directed by Simon Verhoeven, Friend Request does incorporate some truly unhinged, disturbing artwork and animation, but it's never used for anything other than just being there.
Mostly the movie consists of the expected jump scares, plus attempts to "solve" the haunting by traveling to the place it all began, etc. One character, a young man with a crush on Laura, goes crazy over his unrequited love, which seems like a serious stretch. And other than being "friends" and having a good time, there's nothing of substance to any of these characters. Fear the Walking Dead fans will be most disappointed seeing star Alycia Debnam-Carey taking such an ill-fated step down.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.