By ARIA SALESSI
Be careful whose friend request you accept online because you never know whether the person is affirming a friendship or trying to stalk you. Friend Request is a horror film that stars Alicia Debnam-Carey playing a young college student who seemingly lives an ideal life, until one day a simple friend request turns into her worst nightmare. Debnam-Carey is known for playing Alicia in Fear the Walking Dead.
Friend Request follows college student Laura, who becomes the target of the school’s outcast ghost, Marina. On Laura’s birthday, as she plans to celebrate the night with her friends and family, Marina seems to want to join in on the fun. Laura unfriends Marina on Facebook, provoking Marina to commit suicide. Soon after, a disturbing video appears on Laura’s facebook that causes her facebook followers to dwindle. When her friends start to die one by one Laura must figure out a way to stop the curse.
The film feels like a different take on the 2015 horror flick, Unfriended. The film was similar to Unfriended in the way technology was the cause of the character’s issues, but contrasted it by taking a more paranormal approach. These supernatural moments occurred were when Laura came face to face with the ghost of Marina, and also when Laura stared into a mirror that Marina jumped out of. Friend Request succeeds in creeping out its audience with ample graphic imagery and fear-inducing scenes complemented by well-timed timed jump scares. Such fear-evoking aspects were when Marina suddenly emerged from dark corners. The film employed disturbing imagery in a scene with wasps flying out of the ears of dead victims that came into contact with Marina. In this way, though the film had similar origins of Unfriended, its unique means of delivering the plot contrasted the other movie.
Alicia Debnam-Carey’s acting was mediocre due to her dull, lifeless performance. Liesl Ahlers, however, who plays Marina, maintained her creepy persona that fit her character.
Overall, this film ties all the plot streams together seamlessly, leaving no question unanswered. I believe that what brought the film together was its intense imagery and CGI. Additionally, the attention to detail, specifically the makeup on Marina’s face, made it seem like she was a rotting corpse.
The movie can be seen as a total disaster in terms of box office numbers. It made a total $3.7 million on a $9.5 million budget, so in terms of revenue, the studio lost money.
I believe that although Friend Request was not the best horror movie that I have seen, it was still a movie that performed to its potential. I recommend giving this underrated movie a try because it is definitely a hidden gem for horror lovers.