I finally got round to watching Friend Request last weekend; the latest horror film to be based around the worlds ever growing obsession with social media. After being a big fan of Unfriended, I looked forward to finding out what Friend Request had to offer, and I wasn’t disappointed.
It’s another fantastic addition to this new type of horror film that’s based around society’s growing obsession with the internet and social media. In Friend Request, we meet protagonist Laura Woodson, who appears to have the perfect life that’s heavily documented on her Facebook page. A college student, Laura receives a friend request from a girl called Marina, who according to her Facebook page only has one friend; Laura.
Laura soon befriends Marina, but, as time goes on, she becomes increasingly possessive of Laura. After a public argument in the middle of their college campus, after Marina finds out Laura lied to her about her birthday celebrations, Marina kills herself in front of her webcam. After her death, strange things start to happen around Laura, leading to her losing all of her friends and becoming a loner, just like Marina.
What I found interesting about this film was it’s focus on loneliness, as well as its portrayal of how social media can lead people to believe you have the perfect life. It’s something that social media users come across everyday, and we’re probably all guilty of looking at someone’s profile and feeling some envy towards the ‘perfect’ life they appear to be leading. Friend Request really shows the audience how wonderful the internet can be, in terms of keeping in touch with friends and allowing users to post special memories for them to look back on, but at the same time, it represents the darker side of the internet.
Whilst the events that take place throughout the film are extreme, and also heavily fictionalised by the fantasy horror theme that features in Friend Request, I thought it portrayed the worlds growing obsession with social media perfectly, as well as the fact that we never truly know whose watching our every move. It’s something we don’t think about; why would we when we’re enjoying sharing big news or happy memories with our loved ones? There’s definitely a darker side to the overall enjoyment of the Internet and social media, and Friend Request does a great job at reminding us of this.
As previously mentioned, the theme of demonic possession and cults feature a lot in the film, which takes a step away from the realistic depiction that is portrayed at the beginning of the film. For me personally, and as much as I enjoyed Friend Request, I think I would have preferred it if the producers of the film had stuck with a more realistic storyline, rather than going off into a completely different plot with talk of Marina’s mother having been a member of a demonic cult.
Despite this though, I found it a very enjoyable film to watch. It was really well made, and the plot structure was great; a fantastic addition to this new style of horror film that really does leave you thinking about the impacts of social media long after the credits have finished rolling.