UNFRIENDED (2015) Movie Review
Unfriended is a simple story shot from the point of view of Blaire Lily’s laptop as she struggles to investigate the person behind a serious and distasteful hacking. Someone had hacked the Skype account of her deceased friend, Laura Barns, who had committed suicide exactly one year previous. Even more distasteful was the reason she ended her life.
A humiliating video of her had gone viral. However, the more she investigates, the more she realizes that the user could indeed be Laura. The real mystery is what the mysterious user demands to know. Who posted the humiliating video? Who is responsible for the heinous crime of cyber bullying? Who is responsible for ending Laura’s life?
If ever there was a movie that fit in today’s culture, no other can hold a candle to Unfriended. Everything we do is done online. Skype, Facebook, YouTube, Google, chat, email, downloads, and music. All accessible on our laptops. All achieved simultaneously in one sitting (thanks to high speed internet). Horrifying haunting aside, I found myself watching exactly how a young person today would spend their time on their laptop, including myself sadly enough. We can never focus on one thing for more than five minutes, which is what I found so impressive about this film. It was extremely well paced. Every few minutes, Blaire pulls up a new window to do something new.
On a more serious note, the film also addresses a very serious, very real crime. Cyber-bullying. These days, one can take video very easily. Most cell phones come with built in cameras. I’m sure their intended purpose is meant to make wonderful memories with friends and family, which is why I carry a small camcorder with me at all times. However, the convenience of these cameras can also cause people to record and post online awful, humiliating things against the subject’s knowledge or consent. Such a thing is an extreme invasion of privacy, violation of trust, and a crime. Such actions come with horrifying consequences. In the case of Laura Barns, she feels so betrayed and humiliated that she takes her own life.
On the anniversary of her death, Laura Barns came back from the dead and haunts her assailants through the very medium used to assault her. Today’s most popular sites: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. She knows every one of her victims has secrets. One by one, she publicly exposes their secrets and drives them to suicide until she finally gets her answer. Who posted the video? Also, who recorded the video?
There is one way to end this curse and spare their lives. They must confess their sins. It seems to be a simple solution to this violent haunting. All Laura wants is a confession. Blaire even confirms this from a Google search. One would think the cyber-bully would come forward in to save the lives of his/her friends. Why not? Fear of embarrassment, perhaps. Doubt would be a reasonable reaction. The reason is unclear.
However, it leaves the viewer with a heavy amount of frustration when the credits start to roll. Why not confess? Due to the bully’s refusal to confess, the truth was publicly posted for everyone to see. In the end, no good comes from keeping secrets. In the end, confession would have not only spared them embarrassment, but more importantly, it would have saved six lives. Also, a seventh life could be spared if the cyber-bullying never happens.
Like this film there is only one way to obtain forgiveness for all of your sins, and it begins with confession.
1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” (NLT)
Confession could have saved the lives of six teens in Unfriended, but it also could have saved their souls.
Let this movie be a lesson. Cyber-bullying is a cowardly, never-ending, life-ruining CRIME, and the consequences can be devastating. Never in any circumstances for any reason can a person justify such a thing. The Internet can be a very dangerous place. Once something is posted, it is posted forever. One of few irreversible mistakes that one can make in life. No amount of regret (or memorial Facebook pages) can undo it. Only confession.