The latest installment in the series, Unfriended: Dark Web veers far from its predecessor and takes us into the shady world of the, you guessed it…“dark web.”
(For those unfamiliar with that term, it’s basically a secure…and hard to reach…part of the internet where, through the use of cryptocurrency, a person can purchase illegal goods or services.)
Ashamed to admit, I’ve actually never watched the original Unfriended, but from what I know about it, it was billed as a supernatural thriller, whereas Dark Web is (loosely) more grounded in reality.
This story follows Mattias (Colin Woodell), who after finding an abandoned Macbook left behind at his place of employment, decides to take it for himself. Hoping that the new laptop would help him communicate better with his deaf girlfriend Amaya, who appears to be on the verge of breaking up with him.
After getting adjusted to the new laptop, he starts to notice some weird notifications appearing on his screen for the previous owner. Eventually letting curiosity get the best of him, Mattias opens one of the notifications. Turns out, the notifications are actually coming from the previous owner of the laptop.
“During their time of socializing and fun, Mattias discovers a folder with weirdly titled files…”
Ignoring the previous owners attempt to get the laptop back, he joins in on an online “game night” with whom we can assume are old college friends. During their time of socializing and fun, Mattias discovers a folder with weirdly titled files. After opening a few, we see terrifying videos of girls trapped in odd places screaming for help. His friends are obviously disturbed by this and are contemplating calling the police.
But just then, a message appears at the bottom of Mattias’ screen warning him once again to return the laptop. After Mattias refuses, a video appears on the screen of a hooded man inside of his girlfriend’s house. And since Amaya is deaf, she has no way of knowing he’s in there.
When Amaya retreats to the bathroom, the hooded man (whose face is digitally scrambled) gets on her lap and tells Mattias that if he informs his friends of what’s happening, or if they call the police, he will kill Amaya. From this point on Mattias tries to convince his friends that this was a scary social game he created to sell and that he was using them as beta testers, hoping to disarm their suspicions. Meanwhile, the hooded man is giving Mattias instructions on what to do with the laptop.
And as you can probably guess, nothing goes as planned for Mattias from here on out.
“…worth taking your friends’ asses to the theater to watch their reactions.”
I don’t want to give anything away cause this is a movie that’s worth taking your friends’ asses to the theater to watch their reactions. Personally, I was pretty shocked at just how fun (and actually scary) Unfriended was.
The visuals in this film are pretty impressive considering that everything is happening from a webcam point of view. Obviously, the effects were meant to look that way, and the filmmaker, Stephen Susco, most likely used a higher-end camera, but kudos for the “low rent” look and grain that gave the film a realistic slant.
The other props that are due are to the cast who, not only really sold the scares in this film, but brought a likability to each character that gave you a reason to root for their survival.
Like I mentioned previously, I had very little expectations for Unfriended: Dark Web when I was tagged to review it. But, I can’t be happier with the results. It far exceeded my expectations, and in my opinion, is the summer horror film to beat. Along with all of the jumps and shocks, it will keep you guessing the entire time as to what’s really going on. And even when you think you have this movie figured out, it will continue to throw you for a loop till the credits roll.
Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) Directed and Written by Stephen Susco. Starring Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel, Chelsea Alden, Andrew Lees, Stephanie Nogueras, Savira Windyani, and Conner Del Rio.
7 out of 10