Unfriended

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Unfriended Movie Poster Image
Edgy, violent horror movie deals with teen cyberbullying.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 82 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 36 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

May drive home the fact that anonymous posting online can be just as hurtful and damaging as physical bullying.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the teen characters have experimented with violence, drugs, alcohol, sex, and cyberbullying.

Violence

Moments of extreme gore; blood spatters. Teen suicide, via gunshot to the head, shown on a video. Dead teens. A hand in a blender. A hot curling iron shoved in a girl's mouth. A second gunshot to the head. Impaling on a huge knife. A video of a drunk teen girl who has defecated on herself.

Sex

Teens frequently talk about sex. Many have had sex or have experimented with each other. A near-striptease shown on a webcam. A sexy ad for "Free Live Cams." A shirtless male. Innuendo and flirting.

Language

Extremely strong, constant language, both spoken and written: "F--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "c--t," "p---y," "a--hole," "ass," "bitch," "d--k," "piss," "goddamn," "boobs."

Consumerism

Current digital brands are constantly shown and used on the computer screen: Google Chrome browser, Skype, Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, Instagram, etc. Snapchat is mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens smoke pot, drink, and get drunk. References to and photos of teens having been drunk or high on previous occasions. Reference to "roofies."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Unfriended is a horror movie that appears to take place almost entirely via computer screen, using Skype webcam chats, Facebook messages, text messages, YouTube videos, Spotify music, etc. (the products'/services' real brand names are constantly shown and used). All of the main characters are teens; some of them drink or smoke pot on camera, and there are references to past substance use. Language is extremely strong, with many uses of "f--k" and much more. There's also plenty of sexual innuendo, references to sex acts, and flirting -- as well as a near-striptease (shown via webcam), though there's no actual nudity. Teens die in gory ways, with blood splatters and other shocking images (hand in a blender, impalement, hot curling iron shoved in someone's mouth, etc.), and teen suicide is shown (via a gunshot to the head) and discussed. Amid all of the scares and edgy content, the movie does raise relevant issues related to cyberbullying.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieWatching101 May 10, 2015

Good Movie (Some spoilers in this review)

I'm 10, and I could handle this movie. If your not into gore, or loud screams and stuff, you can just cover your ears and look down, like I did! lol :) The... Continue reading
Adult Written byCloudIsC00L723 April 19, 2015

Interesting, but irritating, cliched "horror" movie.

Objectionable content aside, I found NOTHING good about this movie. The acting and writing were completely laughable, the "scares" are cheap and alrea... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bynhitwerni April 19, 2015

Appropirate for some

Unfriended, for me personally was not that big of a problem. BUT I could see how it may scar, or scare kids my age as well. Although the movie was scary, how i... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 13, 2015
I watched this movie a couple nights ago with my friend and I thought it was just the right amount of scary, although I do think this movie is very intense, and... Continue reading

What's the story?

Fresno high schooler Blaire (Shelley Hennig) settles in for an evening on her computer, texting her boyfriend, Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), with whom she's planning a magical prom night, and Skyping with her best friends. But then a mysterious intruder appears in their group chat, and nothing the friends do can get rid of him/her. Meanwhile, Blaire is receiving strange Facebook messages from one Laura Barns, who committed suicide a year ago that day. The "ghost" makes her intentions known by causing the death of another teen girl, whose final moments the friends witness via their webcams. The intruder promises that the same will happen to the others, unless they play a game. Will the truth come out before it's too late?

Is it any good?

At its core, UNFRIENDED is just another variation on the old Friday the 13th theme, with misbehaving teens paying the ultimate price at the hands of a supernatural killer. But the catch here is that virtually the entire movie takes place on a single computer screen, via shifting windows, YouTube videos, Spotify music, Facebook photos, text messages, web browsers, and characters appearing and disappearing through Skype chats. (Open Windows tried something similar but was far less successful.)

Filmmakers often describe how low budgets and limited resources spur creativity, and that's certainly the case here; without a visible cut, director Levan Gabriadze builds rhythms with the sounds of frantic clicking and the desperate clacking of keyboards. The screen is always in motion, with downward-ticking timers adding to the suspense. Strangely enough, it works, and it can be quite gripping and chilling. Unfriended doesn't feel like a groundbreaker, but it's a successful one-off experiment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Unfriended's violence. How gory is it? How much was shown? Did it make you jump and/or shriek? How did it achieve that effect? How does it compare to other horror movies you've seen?

  • How does the movie address bullying and cyberbullying? Do any of the messages get lost amid the extreme content? When should parents intervene in a cyberbullying situation?

  • How accurately does the movie reflect teens' real-life media habits? Does it suggest any changes?

  • How does the movie depict drinking and drug use? Does the movie make drinking/drugs look cool? Are there any realistic consequences?

  • What role does sex play in the movie? Why do you think horror movies so often mix sex and violence?

Movie details

For kids who love scary movies

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