I was not a fan of 2014’s supernatural horror film, “Unfriended”. The found footage sub-genre had already worn out its’ welcome in multiplexes and it was time for a new gimmick. Now instead of people running around constantly filming on their cameras or smartphone, we have people getting killed in front of their personal computers. The big difference is that the computer screen-based horror film has less shaky movements than the found footage one. That is an improvement, I guess.
“Unfriended: Dark Web” is also an improvement over the first film, but not by a whole lot. First off, because this is a completely different story than the previous film, the supernatural elements are gone, and now we have a more grounded story. Writer Stephen Susco (“The Grudge”, “Texas Chainsaw 3D”, upcoming “Hell Fest”) has some experience writing horror and is now making his directorial debut. It is thanks to him that “Dark Web” works at all.
The biggest problem with “Dark Web” is that it is filled with people making idiotic decisions. I know that is a trope of most horror films, but here those decisions stand out more. Another problem is that the lead character, Matias (Colin Woodell) is not nearly as likable as his friends. I found the character at the center of the film took away from the little fun I was having with it. Everything that is happening to Matias and his friends is because he stupidly stole a computer, unlocked some hidden files and dragged his friends into the whole thing. By the mid-way point the audience wants the lead to be punished. Not just because Matias put his friends in a deadly situation, but because he continues to make matters worse.
“Dark Web” manages to be creepy at times, especially when the group of friends are being messed with by the mysterious hacker, Charon IV. Unfortunately, there is so much stupidity on display here that it is difficult to be scared by any of it. I am sure a good movie can be made in this sub-genre. I actually enjoyed 2014’s “Open Windows”. It just feels like there isn’t a whole lot you can do with a film that takes place in front of a computer screen. “Unfrineded: Dark Web” is one friend request you should probably decline.
By: Marc Ferman