Everyone is constantly glued to their smartphones these days, checking their social media and constantly being kept up to date with everyone’s every movement. So, it stands to reason that sooner or later we would start seeing horror films exploring this realm in earnest. Friend Request is not the first of such films, but it is the latest, and today we are taking a look at the Blu-ray release from Lionsgate.
Friend Request is a 2016 horror film that follows Laura, a popular college student who becomes the obsession of a friendless goth girl named Marina. Like, completely friendless, she has 0 friends on Facebook (like OMG you guys). So, when Laura accepts Marina’s friend request out of the goodness of her heart, Marina gets creepy with it, obsessing over every online interaction and quickly becoming too much for Laura.
So Laura does what anyone would do in this situation, she unfriends Marina. Unfortunately for Laura, this sets Marina in a depressed rage and causes her to kill herself and broadcast her death all over social media.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Laura’s Facebook feed inexplicably begins posting the suicide video, along with several other cryptic messages, which cannot be deleted. It seems that Marina is not going to let a silly thing like death prevent her from causing Laura pain over her heartless act of not being her best friend.
While this may all sound super juvenile and thin for a plot, it actually kind of works – kind of. The whole film played like an urban legend B-movie, which I am ok with that. The acting was nothing special but was suitable enough to not draw me out of the experience. There was a good deal of disturbing video snippets that were a fun mix of gothic and something you’d expect to find in a dark web art project. There is an obvious appreciation for The Ring here.
The film deploys jump scares at pretty much every opportunity, which will likely get some viewers. However, if you are at all familiar with current horror than you will see them all coming. Still, there was some satisfaction to be had, even if the overall product was nothing to write home about.
Also, the ending nearly caused my eyes to roll back completely, so be prepared for that.
This Blu-ray is visually acceptable, but not particularly exciting. There are a lot of very dark scenes that look slightly muddled at times, but for the most part, both darks and lights are looking good enough. I will say this for Friend Request, there are some interesting CG scenes with nice gothic artwork, and a good many interesting little creepy video snippets that are quite stylish, even if they don’t really seem plausible.
The Master Audio 5.1 track is perfectly serviceable here. There is not a ton of surround usage, but what is there is satisfactory and clean sounding. The sound effects are usually believable enough, but at times it felt like the audio was really playing into the scene, which is something you’ll notice but probably won’t care about.
Unfortunately, there is only one special feature in this release, which is a mini-featurette of a little over 10 minutes of cast and crew discussion about making the film. Very standard and not particularly exciting, but to be honest, I wasn’t really feeling the need to find out more about this film. A UV code is included in this release.
- Friend Request: The Social Nightmare
Friend Request Final Thoughts:
I think Friend Request is a middling horror story for sure, but it will likely appeal to a younger generation who really value their social media. Bigger fans of the genre will probably be dissatisfied here, and the lack of meaningful supplements makes this hard to recommend as a blind buy. However if you are so inclined, it is out now and can be had from Amazon or wherever you get your Blu-rays.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.