Friend Request (or as it was released overseas Unfriend) is a 2016 English-language German supernatural-psychological horror film that was directed by Simon Verhoeven and written by Verhoeven, Matthew Ballen, and Philip Koch. The film stars Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Sean Marquette, Leisl Ahlers, and Shashawnee Hall. It was released by Warner Bros. Pictures on January 7, 2016 in Germany and September 22, 2017 in the United States by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures.
The film follows Laura as she is one of the most popular students at her college and she enjoys having an active social live with many friends and family members. She is active on various social networks and has over 800 friends on Facebook. She lives with her three friends, Alicia, Isabel, and Gustavo. She receives a friend request from someone who is a student at her campus named Marina Mills. Seeing her talents in animation, she accepts the request and moves onward with a friendship with the lonely girl However, Laura notices that her new friends profile is plastered with really bizarre and disturbing images; and it is then that Marina’s obsessive behavior begins, Laura starts to feel uncomfortable and things begin to get really insane.
The Film Itself (4/5):
I wasn’t completely sure about Friend Request after I had first heard about it getting a release. At first, I feared that this movie would be a lot like the 2014 film Unfriended and really be a waste of time. That was definitely not the case with this film. While the overall story progression was extremely predictable, the overall scare tactics that were used through this film really made the overall experience an enjoyable one. There’s a really nice array of scares that range from psychological mindfucks to jump scares that are used in this movie and it really made for a great night; not to mention the laughs that I got as my wife jumped at the various jump scares because she wasn’t expecting them made this a great watch.
Picture Quality (4/5):
Overall, the visual presentation that the Blu-ray release of Friend Request offers was clean and clear, and for the most part, my wife and I were able to see and understand everything as it progressed. There are a few scenes that feature lower levels of lighting that did lack sufficient ambient lighting and gave us some trouble seeing everything; but there were only a couple. The special effects that were used in making this film were really well done and helped in making the haunts more lifelike and you could tell that there was a decent chunk of work put into those effects.
Audio Quality (4/5):
Packaged with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, Friend Request does everything it can within its power to offer an all out immersive experience for those that are able to make use of the technology. The overall presentation was clean, clear and offered absolutely no distortion whatsoever. Some of the jump scares really roared through the home theater system, power-housing through the surround relative speakers that helped in making the “freaky” feeling hit home.
The Packaging (2.5/5):
Friend Request comes packaged in your standard single disc Blu-ray amaray case. Within that case is the standard Blu-ray copy of the film, the disc featuring the same piece of artwork that was used for the case art. There are no DVD copies of the film included, however a digital copy redemption pamphlet has been included as well as a slipcover during the releases initial print run that features the same artwork as the case art.
Special Features (2/5):
The Blu-ray release of Friend Request is pretty minimal in terms of additional content. There is one piece that does offer a slight look into the work that went into making this film and the story that it’s working to present; however there could have been a lot more content included with this movie. Included with this release is:
- Friend Request: The Social Nightmare
- Theatrical Trailer
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Original Film: 92 minutes
Overall, Friend Request was a fun experience. Sure, the concept of the film has been overdone and the story that this film provides was extremely predictable; but, this movie offered a completely new take on the concept of a paranormal entity wreaking havoc through social media and inflicting pain on those who defy it. The scares that were used in this film were much better than previous films and actually offered a “holy shit” moment to the film. The overall visual and audible presentation of the Blu-ray release was clean and clear, and for the most part, allowed the audience to be able to understand everything as it progressed. The computer generated effects of the film were really nicely done. Unfortunately, the Blu-ray lacks quite a bit in terms of special features. If you’re on the fence about grabbing this film for your collection, I would recommend grabbing it; but, I’d recommend waiting for it to go on sale. Friend Request will be available on Blu-ray & DVD beginning on January 9, 2018.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.