Friend Request (2016)

friend request2
Liesl Ahlers is Ma Rina Mills

Facebook becomes a witch’s black mirror in Friend Request. Popular psychology student Laura (Alycia Debnam Carey) has over 800 Facebook pals when she receives a friend request from introverted emo-goth student Ma Rina Mills (Liesl Ahlers, yep its the weird goth kid wot dunnit again). Laura accepts Ma Rina because she thinks the spooky animations on Ma Rina’s feed are pretty cool (so why is she doing psychology and not film making or art?), however her shallow ‘real friends’ persuade her that Ma Rina is a weird stalker and that she should not invite her to her birthday party.

Naturally when Ma Rina discovers the snub (from Facebook of course) she strings herself up over a fire live on webcam (I know bloody sensitive these emo-goths with their Cure records and hoodies). But the creepy stuff does not stop there and Ma Rina’s suicide video is uploaded onto Laura’s Facebook feed. Now that makes Laura pretty unpopular and her Facebook chums start deserting her. Can it get any worse? Of course it does, Laura tries to delete the video, unfriend Ma Rina and even delete her own account, only Facebook won’t let her. Then her pals (that is her physical rather than cyber pals) start getting killed in bizarre accidents that get uploaded from CCTV straight onto Laura’s Facebook feed thereby losing her more cyber followers. Desperate to escape the cyber ghost’s clutches Laura confides in boyfriend Tyler (William Moseley) and techno geek Kobe (Connor Paolo) and the three of them try to find out who the real Ma Rina was and put an end to her cyber spookery by finding her laptop black mirror, before it’s all too late.

friend request
just turn the computer off and meet some real people!

It’s a novel idea and Friend Request is a well made movie with an awful lot of really effective jump scares, but for me there was a major implausible gap (which probably comes from watching too many police procedurals). and that is given that all this stuff was posted on Laura’s Facebook feed and she claimed that she couldn’t delete it why didn’t the police (who were investigating Ma Rina’s supposed suicide, and don’t get me started on the fact that they couldn’t find her body) impound her lappy?

I also have to admit I was initially a bit sceptical to discover that the weird person was an emo-goth (are there no goth societies at Californian universities?) however it was quickly proved that the empty superficial ones were Laura’s mainstream friends who judged Ma Rina on her appearance, mind you that was before she turned out to be a dangerous cyber psycho ghost!

Those quibbles aside Friend Request does ramp up to an exciting if slightly implausible conclusion so I’m giving it a 555/666



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