Friend Request

Film, Horror
3 out of 5 stars
1 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
friend request

A social media slasher about a cursed Facebook account that kills all your pals

‘Friend Request’ is the kind of horror movie you probably watched at a sleepover as a teenager. It’s scary, a bit cheesy and bang on the zeitgeist. The story follows Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a popular college kid who accepts a loner’s friend request on Facebook but doesn’t behave like a friend IRL. The result? A curse that plays out via Facebook and causes all her mates to drop dead, one by one, in a ‘Final Destination’-meets-‘The Craft’ kinda way.

The death scenes are genuinely hide-behind-your-sleeve terrifying, but each one of Laura’s pals is so self-absorbed that you’ll joyously embrace their gory fate. Plus, the film has a whole other level of (potentially unintended) humour thanks to cheesetastic lines like ‘Unfriend that dead bitch!’ The film is strung together with teen horror clichés: creepy childhood flashbacks and a load of witchcraft. However, it also deals with the very modern way our digital and real-life worlds converge.

The most cinematically interesting parts of the film are those where it zooms in on characters’ Facebook profiles, turning pictures and videos into full-screen hallucinations. Like ‘Scream’ and ‘The Ring’, ‘Friend Request’ is probably best watched with all your mates, a tongue-in-cheek attitude and a lot of Pick ’n’ Mix – and I mean that in a good way. Social media has never been so scary.

Release details

Release date:
Friday April 22 2016
92 mins

Cast and crew

Simon Verhoeven
Simon Verhoeven, Matthew Ballen, Philip Koch
Alycia Debnam-Carey
William Moseley
Connor Paolo

Average User Rating

1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening

I love a good horror film. I like the classics – ‘Misery’ never fails to terrify – and I also have a soft spot for the good scares that came out of the 90’s – ‘Scream’, ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ and ‘Final Destination’ are all guilty-pleasures-that-I-don’t-feel-remotely-guilty-about watching time and time again. I’m always on the lookout for something I can hunker down on the sofa with and enjoy watching from behind interlocked fingers…sadly, this film doesn’t come anywhere close to those afore mentioned classics and the scariest part was looking at my watch after what felt like an hour to realise it was barely twenty minutes in.

The storyline is as old as they come – loner at school develops an unhealthy fixation with the popular girl – and it’s brought right up to date with social media and Facebook in particular playing a role as big as any of the actors. It doesn’t help that none of the cast are remotely likable so from the first scene, it’s hard to care what happens to them. The script isn’t strong enough to make us empathise with the sad protagonist and some of the lines dished out for the teen cast to utter are cringe-worthy and unrealistic.

Despite the internet featuring so heavily, it didn’t feel like anything I hadn’t seen before and although there are some scenes that are clever and interesting to watch, the repetition as each character meets their fateful end quickly becomes a snooze-fest. This is a classic example of a studio churning out a run-of-the-mill horror that’s not horrifying and honestly, I can’t recommend enough that you save your time, avoid this drivel and head for a trusted classic instead.