A group Skype session is rudely interrupted by a cyber-psycho in Unfriended, a found footage film for the Facebook generation. Let’s call it The Antisocial Network.
Eyes Without a Facebook takes place entirely on a single computer screen in real time. And although the thought of watching someone flick between YouTube and Facebook and Spotify sounds incredibly boring, Unfriended is surprisingly cinematic. This cyber-slasher captures and amplifies the ceaseless noise of the internet, while exploring the dark underbelly of social media. But at the risk of sounding like someone’s mum, why don’t they just turn off the computer?
The Buffering accurately depicts life online, perhaps for the first time in cinema. Though at one point they go on Chatroulette and don’t see a single penis, so it’s not completely authentic. But to even acknowledge that people socialise on the internet is quite uncommon. Of course, the film’s reliance on the media of Skype and Facebook means it will date very badly. Chatroulette has already gone the way of the dinosaurs and Myspace. But the film does tackle the classic horror theme of bullying. In a modern twist, it addresses the disturbing threat of cyberbullying, with its anonymity, impunity and brutality.
Stream and Stream Again effectively reflects life on the internet and has something relevant to say about cyberbullying, which it does with annoying shrillness. Even by horror film standards, these teenagers are insufferable. And while it would probably be more effective as a ten-minute short, it taps incessantly into the zeitgeist, delivering a cyber-sense of the uncanny. Not since your parents last called you has the Skype ringtone sounded so terrifying. And you can bet your bottom bitcoin that there’ll be a disappointing sequel, where some awful teens are terrorised by the Twitter egg.