Ball State Daily
B-List Delights: Friend Request
Friend Request (2016) is a fairy-tale-turned-internet-nightmare. Alicia Debnam-Carey’s character, Laura, is living the internet dream. She’s majoring in psychology, spending time with her boyfriend and friends, and posting her life for strangers to see. One day she receives a friend request from Marina, a shy girl in her psychology class. Marina, played by Liesel Marquette, focuses her time to Laura, hoping to befriend her in real life. Laura begins to notice the girl’s strange mannerisms, until she unfriends her after a confrontation in the cafeteria. Her life is instantly turned upside down, haunted by Marina until Laura is driven insane.
Marina begins to manifest in Laura’s mind, causing her to have hallucinations. She goes to class the day after their confrontation and finds out Marina died the night before, and believes the nightmares are over. Marina’s online profile begins to add Laura’s friends, who think it’s all some joke until they’re haunted by the demonic presence. Suddenly, the video of Marina’s death is shared by none other than Laura, but she isn’t the one controlling her account anymore. The scariest part of the online profiles is that no one is able to un-add Marina’s account after she has been added, and Laura can’t delete the video. She is now stuck with a curse that no one knows how to break. The ending left me shocked since the scenario was something I hadn’t expected at all.
Friend Request has a few jumpscares, but mainly relies on its suspenseful aspect to carry the movie. The movie’s overall theme does seem slightly cheesy, with one of their taglines being “Evil is Trending”, and hinting towards the fact that you shouldn’t add strangers. The movie revolves around website usage and decided to use Facebook as their setting, but they never actually name which platform they’re using. There are a few mishaps during scenes, where the profile is giving false information or when two characters are talking and you can see the boom mic in the corner.
Overall, I would give Friend Request a three out of five skulls. It wasn’t overwhelmingly scary and the movie dragged on a little too long for my taste. I enjoyed the acting and thought the directing by Simon Verhoeven was decent, but the slow pace of the plot left me losing interest as time passed.