Saturday, 7 January 2017

"Friend Request" Movie Review (spoilers)

I thought I'd do something different and post a film review.

So, Friend Request came out in April of last and that is when I went to see it. Since it was my first time ever seeing a horror film, I wasn't sure of what would happen or what to expect.

I felt particularly triggered by a specific kill scene and had walked out of the film. I finished watching the rest on YouTube a few months later when it was posted on YouTube in Italian. I understand quite a bit of Italian, but not speak it, and went online to check up words every now and again.

Here are my grading systems for films, if I review any more films in the future. The grading system is based on the percentage of how much I enjoyed or hated a film.
0-10% = Hated it, wouldn't watch again
11-20% = Hated it, but something's good about it.
21-30% = Not particularly amazing, but some scenes are worth watching
31-40% = Alright. but do not recommend it
41-50% = Alright, and recommend watching it on YouTube
51-60% = Good, but recommend getting it on DVD
61-70% = Good, see it in the cinema with friends
71-80% = Good, see it in cinema alone
81-90% = Great, worth watching in cinema
91-100% = Great, see it in cinema and buy it on DVD

My rating for Friend Request would be 1%. This film is atrocious. The dialogue is inconsistent with how young people react to things. These are college students, and seemed to be in college for some time. Their dialogue is beyond horrendous.
"Unfriend that dead bitch." Well done writers. Seriously, I applaud you. You have managed to create dialogue that is immature and outright horrific. A young woman has committed suicide, and is haunting the protagonist's profile, and you give someone a line of dialogue so immature that makes me want to throw my laptop at the wall.
Even the most obnoxious of teenagers would not say this kind of thing.
One of the detectives is the comic relief of this film... But this film has no space for that kind of thing. It is a serious film about a wide range of serious issues. If you are tackling online harassment, online stalking, demonic possession, online obsession, and mental illness in your film, do not include comic relief. It distracts from tension built up (if there is any, and this film only had the tension in the first kill sequence. The rest were expected.) and distracts from the seriousness of the topic being addressed.

And the way this film tackles mental health issues and stigmatises people with mental health.... Ugh, Sigh. I am not sure of what to say here. The character of Marina Nedifar (Ma Rina, Marina Mills) has Trichotillomania, or the hair pulling disorder. Which is an anxiety disorder. Among other things which are potentially there, such as BPD, some signs of depression and some signs of PTSD (as we find out, she does not have the loveliest of pasts), it stigmatises people with mental health issues because of portraying Ma Rina as this crazy, obsessive, creepy stalker and even Laura's friends think she's crazy. Considering that at least 90 percent of them are studying to be psychologists (like myself), they are horrifyingly judgemental of this new girl in class who becomes so attached to Laura.

To be honest, by the end of the film, the audience starts to root for Ma Rina to kill all of them because Laura's friends are just such terrible people. I was rooting for Ma Rina to have her revenge by the end of the film. Laura's boyfriend is extremely possessive, Kobe is attempts to kill Laura in an attempt to keep himself alive (which is never explained, was he possessed?), Isabelle has a huge, inflated ego, Olivia's "unfriend that dead bitch" line indicated her attitude to everything.... And Gus isn't on screen long enough for the audience to care about him. Even Laura becomes insufferable by the end of the film because some of her actions do not make sense. Why not show the cops that you are not posting the videos? Why not talk to people who have been deleting you face to face to show them you're not posting the videos? Why does Laura not show the same thing to the school principle? Why does Laura not smash the laptop she committed suicide in front of, but looks into it? Why does Laura not give information to the cops about what she and Kobe find out? Pretty sure that this information could be useful into the investigation of Ma Rina's suicide.
And regarding other characters actions.... Why is Laura's boyfriend so possessive? His questions about her and Kobe hanging out are so out of place in the script. She;s going though a really tough time with Ma Rina posting things to her Facebook from beyond the grave, Ma Rina's suicide.... And he asks this? You've got to be kidding.
And the cops dialogue in the film is horrendous. Their actions are unrealistic. Their actions and words are not logical. And one of them is proper comic relief, as mentioned previously.

The lighting in this film sometimes feels slightly overexposed or under exposed. In the scene where Laura and Ma Rina walk to uni, the scene feels slightly overexposed. And some indoor scenes feel underexposes. Like the bedroom scene where Laura and her boyfriend look at Gus's memorial page. Sure, it's a horror film. But, it's sunny outside! Where is the sunlight that would naturally brighten the room up? I know that it is to continue the creepy and sad atmosphere, but the underexposure of the shot, and many others, is horrendous. Also in that same bedroom shot, you can see a boom mic at the top of the shot. No director would let a boom mic be anywhere in the shot, or at least disguise it somewhat.
Overall, the lighting feels hilariously unrealistic to what it would be like if this film was going to be happening in real life. No one sits in a barely lit room without turning some form of lighting on. Budget constraints....

The direction of the film is terrible as well. Some shots look so bad. And most of all, we don't see Ma Rina when killings start. The costume in behind the scenes stuff was so good. Why isn't it incorporated into the film more to let us see it at all? I would love to have seen her in costume, rather than just her creepy face twice or so.
The direction of what characters are supposed to be doing is really poor as well, as the actions of characters are unrealistic. Especially with people who are unfriending Laura. Not everyone would delete her. Family members definitely wouldn't, people who don't use Facebook often wouldn't even know what's happening, etc. How is her friend count absolutely zero at the end of the film? Did Ma Rina do this? What's with the Matrix code?
Too many questions left unanswered. I didn't care about the main character at all. That maybe because of the silly montage, showing her life. There is nothing interesting about this montage, and it fades out into pointless scenes and then go back into the montage... What....
Another thing about direction is after the first kill sequence, it fades to white. That fade to white is pointless, and looks like something that could easily be done in After Effects. Heck, one could do it in Movie Maker if they wanted to with little effort. It was just a cheap transition. Another cheap transition is from the montage, from the sunset cover picture into the same sunset with Laura running. That felt a bit out of place, even though it is an interesting transition.

Another problem with this film is the very unrealistic way that these kill sequences happen. Characters hallucinate in order to end their lives because of the witchy symbols that are the same symbols as the Matrix code stuff. There is no way that symbols could make you hallucinate, not to mention the symbols apparently transmuting chemicals to make one hallucinate. It is extremely unrealistic and a little bit stupid. Please, someone tell me, why do the symbols make you hallucinate? Why do they move?

Overall, the film is really bad. There's nothing redeemable about it, other than Alycia Debnam-Carey's performance. I kind of liked Liesl Ahlers performance of Marina, as I thought that she acted her part of shy, reclusive, too attached friend. And when Marina end her life, which starts the curse, this is where her character motivations become certifiably insane.

Hope you've enjoyed this review. I might do a few more if I get a chance to see any films this year.

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