Friend Request

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Friend Request Movie Poster Image
Clever concept ruined by poor execution; very violent.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


Characters lie in bed and kiss.


Uses of "f--k," "s--t," "crap," "shut up," "hell," and "freak," plus "Jesus" and "Christ" (as exclamations).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking among college students. Joke about a girl being a "drunk floozy." Smoking.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRarityfan January 28, 2019

Not a big request

Few years ago it was a big thing to have cyberspace horror movies, as it also was one of the filler movies of 2016. Can be recommended for nerdy teens that unde... Continue reading
Parent of a 1, 4, and 6-year-old Written byLaylah M. July 3, 2018

Good but Gory

This movie is quite interesting, but is very gory and has many curse words. I'd recommend it to older teens.
Teen, 14 years old Written byaqkta May 4, 2020

Classic horror movie

This movie was very thought out and has many twists hidden inside. It has a very thorough plot and I was dying to know what would happen next. After seeing the... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bybdgtb May 4, 2020

Overly horrific, decent movie

I am a huge fan of horror movies, but this is not my favorite! It had a great plot idea with ‘okay’ execution relying mainly on jumpscares. I did not thoroughly... Continue reading

What's the story?

In FRIEND REQUEST, Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is an incredibly popular college student with many friends, a new boyfriend, and an enormous social media following. Laura notices a strange new girl at school, Marina (Liesl Ahlers), and decides to accept her online friend invitation. Unfortunately, the lonely Marina takes things too far and starts stalking Laura. When Laura rebuffs her, Marina commits suicide, and the video of the event finds its way onto Laura's social media page. She tries to delete it, but the site mysteriously refuses to comply. Suddenly her friends begin suffering weird, ghostly attacks and even dying all around her -- with even more videos posted to her page. Laura's online friend count begins to drop, and she realizes that whoever -- or whatever -- is doing this wants to make her feel just as alone as Marina did.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horror

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