★★★ | Friend Request
Be careful when you accept a Facebook friend request, because the person requesting might be a lunatic.
That’s the premise behind the new movie ‘Friend Request.’ In it, popular girl Laura (Alcia Debnam-Carey) briefly speaks to loner Ma Rina (Liesl Ahlers), who is a bit out of place at school with her unusual appearance and head always covered by a hoodie. In Ma’s mind they are now friends. So Ma sends a Facebook friend request to Laura, but Laura notices that Ma has zero Facebook friends. Laura reluctantly accepts the friend request much to the dismay of her boyfriend Tyler (William Moseley) and best friend Olivia (Brit Morgan). Ma then starts commenting on practically every post that Laura has ever written. Ma becomes more psychotic and weird when Laura has a birthday dinner but doesn’t invite Ma. When Ma sees photos of the party on Facebook, she becomes angry at Laura and goes from friend status to psycho bitch stalker status. Then it’s announced at school that Ma has committed suicide, yet someone is posting dark eerie video on her pages and on Laura’s page, and Laura is unable to unfriend her. And Laura’s friends are unable to deactivate their accounts as well, and one by one they are being killed off due to their association with Laura. While Laura’s 800-plus Facebook friends start unfriending her, who is behind the deaths and the constant Facebook postings? Will Laura be the next victim to Ma’s revenge from the grave?
‘Friend Request’ is a film for the Facebook generation. It’s all about collecting friends, whether you really know them or not, and living your life, through Facebook. As the intensity of ‘Friend Request’ builds, it gets a bit sillier and sillier, especially with lines like when Olivia tells Laura to ‘unfriend the dead bitch.’ Then a policeman says – with a straight face – ’someone had a rough day,’ after the brutal death of one of Laura’s friends. ‘Friend Request’ echoes films like ‘Carrie’ and ‘Final Destination’ where friends are killed off one by one, so the body count is there but the suspense really isn’t. And some of the death scenes are a bit ridiculous and over the top. But should you accept this friend request? I say yes!
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.