After seeing movies like Kristy and The Den it’s hard not to compare this film to the rest. In a short summary Unfriended 2 runs a little like this. Matias is your average Twenty-something year old. He lives in L.A. and visits internet cafes. One day after seeing a laptop in the lost and found for weeks Matias decides he has found a new computer for himself. It’s made clear to the audience our lead has committed theft for a good cause though(so the audience still roots for him). Matias is dating Amaya who lives her life with impaired hearing. Unfortunately for the lovely couple Matias cannot sign, but Matias had created an app the translates his speech to video’s of him signing in ASL and is even better now with his new laptop he can operate the app faster. However, this does not impress Amaya as it doesn’t fix the core of their problems. Flash forward a couple minutes Matias is joined by five friends on a skype call. “It’s game night” they all declare as they play “Cards Against Humanity”. Furthermore things get a little inhumane once Matias and his friends realize the stolen computer is full of snuff films and the owner is willing to snuff them out one by one to get it back. Who lives? Who dies?
The entirety of Dark Web is spent being filmed through a skype call and is essentially a bandicam recording of our lead’s screen. Aside from this,Unfriended 2 surpasses its predecessor by a long shot. The first major improvement revolves around the cast as it isn’t all angsty teens who like to gossip. This go around we have real characters with real goals who don’t feel plucked out of a YA novel. We have Serena and Nari-the lesbian couple who battle with average relationship struggles. Then we have AJ, a conspiracy theorist and resident nutcase of the group. He provides the comic relief and is also one of the more interesting characters in this group. DJ Lexx and Damon are also in the mix and prove to be useful, in particular Damon.
Aside from the major improvement in the cast, the movie falls somewhat flat. For starters it is a horror movie and sadly people die. However, it almost feels like the gory factor and the creativity of the kills were underwhelming compared to Unfriended. I mean you have to top a guy turning his neck into a blood smoothie and a girl confusing a curling iron for a hot dog. Sadly this movie doesn’t do much to up the ante. Maybe this could be because Unfriended 2 has a human killer versus a supernatural killer. But even when a film opens with videos of girls locked in oil drums and videos of acid barrels about to be tipped on bodies, falling off a building isn’t really all that shocking. What is shocking is how many times the camera continues to go into a static frenzy anytime the killer is on the call. It’s a fun gimmick at first but it soon becomes a bit too much and overused.
On the upside, what Unfriended: Dark Web lacks in gore and makes up for in tension. In many scenes you see the killer begin to piece together audio clips or internet search history which leads to insane conclusions and unexpected deaths. Unfortunately, this is used sparingly but when it is used make sure to have someone’s hand to hold. The movie becomes so tense and at some points you question “Is my computer at home able to be hacked like this?” It’s a feeling or worry and fear. Fear this could all be real, similar to the infamous Blair Witch Project.
If you noticed some killer Spotify tunes in the first Unfriended keep your eyes peeled for the sequel. Some pretty good jams sneak their way in and out of the films indie style soundtrack. Also be on the lookout for great performances from Get Out’s Betty Gabriel as Nari. The film takes it’s time to set itself up for the inevitable scares but does a good job as each friend has a different story to tell through their acting. It makes for a great experience and for some scenes more tense and heart wrenching than the “Never Have I Ever” game in the first film.
I really wanted Unfriended: Dark Web to “WOW” me. Sadly it’s a premise that came too little too late. A Dark Web murder mystery has been done before and done slightly better in the films Kristy and The Den. Even worse The Den is filmed entirely off a computer screen as well and follows almost an identical plot as Unfriended: Dark Web. Therefore if you’ve seen any movie with remotely the same plot before I’d suggest waiting for Unfriended: Dark Web to hit DVD or any streaming service. With some predictable jump scares and shocking twist Dark Web does it’s job as a horror movie with some heart to it.