Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Facetime Your Fears

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Facetime Your Fears

Article excerpt

Unfriended (15)

dir: Levan Gabriadze

The revolution in gaming and computing has affected cinema in many ways, from narrative formats and editing styles to the threat (real or exaggerated) posed to the industry by illegal downloading. One problem rarely discussed, though, is how to represent on film the uncinematic activity that consumes so much of modern life and leisure. Just as no television show before The Royle Family acknowledged that ordinary people watch TV, so movies have largely shied away from putting the common computer at the centre of the action. Small wonder, when the naff attempts to visualise online space in the WikiLeaks drama The Fifth Estate and the thriller Chatroom were enough to make Pac-Man cringe.

An on-screen Twitter feed was integral to the 2014 comedy Frank, starring Michael Fassbender. But cinema has found its Royle Family moment only now in the horror movie Unfriended, in which the action is confined to an 80-minute Skype conversation between six people. Or rather, five people and an "it". Blaire (Shelley Hennig), a Californian teenager, knows all but one of her fellow callers. When the faceless contributor identifies herself as Laura Barns, a chill descends. Laura committed suicide a year earlier after a demeaning video of her was posted on YouTube. There's nothing in Skype's terms and conditions about blocking ghosts.

Numerous screens and tabs are opened by Blaire within the group call--we see Spotify, YouTube and Facebook, as well as private messages that provide a running commentary on the Skype chat. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.