"Friend Request" is about a popular girl in college named Laura who befriends a much less popular, socially awkward girl named Marina. Upon noticing that Marina has 0 friends on Facebook, Laura decides to add her, but quickly unfriends her after realizing how obsessive and crazy she is. This prompts Marina to commit suicide and now her spirit begins to haunt Laura and her friend by means of Facebook. She basically becomes a cyber-spirit and that's an actual premise that someone got paid to write in the year 2017.
Apparently this movie still technically counts as a 2016 movie seeing as how it was first released in Germany in January of last year, so I guess it's nice to know that America and Germany both deal with shitty horror movies typically coming out in January. But anyhow, this movie got its official release in America this weekend, so now mainstream audiences can witness what our friends in Germany had to suffer through well over a year in advance.
Right out of the gate, this movie just doesn't know what it wants to be. There are times when it's clearly just setting out to be a horror movie about some girl whose Facebook account is possessed, but then there are times when it's trying to be some social commentary on social media and how it affects out lives. This movie tries to hit home the point of how a young generation can become too focused on social media fame, but what's getting in the way of that is a cliched horror film. There are two different ideas in this movie and they're both butting heads over what gets put in the forefront. Is it a horror movie? Kind of. Is it a social critique on social media platforms? Kind of...I guess. It's just too bad that neither of them gel as well as they want to.
Also, this movie just raises more questions as you see more of Marina's spirit haunting Laura. One of the things Marina does to torment her is possessing her Facebook account and posting videos of people being murdered on that same account. So in the end, it looks like Laura is the one posting snuff films to her account and that's obviously going to make her look bad. What baffles me is how the movie emphasizes that Laura's stakes are her losing all of her Facebook friends. There's a counter in the movie that shows her friends dropping throughout and the movie seems to act as if that's the worst possible thing that can happen to her in this situation. Um, maybe you should focus more on how Laura looks like a murderer and how that can affect her worse than just her losing all of her social media friends that she doesn't even talk to.
But don't worry, there comes a point where Laura gets confronted by cops about her account, but that makes the movie full of more plot holes. There's enough evidence that Laura really isn't the one committing these murders and posting these videos, and any rational human being would assume that her account is just being hacked by someone else. And not only that, but Marina's spirit is also preventing Laura from deleting the videos and her account as a whole. Quick-fix for Laura: Show the authorities that you're unable to delete anything on your account and that alone should convince them that there's something up with her account to make her look bad. They may not believe that it's all because of a Facebook ghost, but like I said, they would believe something as simple as a hacker and that should be enough to exonerate Laura. Does that happen? No. Why? Because Laura is an idiot who does things for the sake of the script.
I'll be honest and say that I'm not the avid Facebook user I use to be. The only reason I even log on to my account is to occasionally get rid of the little notification symbol on my phone since it came with the Facebook app automatically downloaded. In fact, the reason why I haven't even deactivated my account is because my log on is linked to this very account on this very website. If I delete my Facebook account, then I delete my creators account as well, so there's that. I'm not actively involved in Facebook stuff and I'm even willing to bet that if I were to go to my friends list and look at what some of my former high school acquaintances have been up to, at least one of them is now a wealthy businessman who just bought another stock in Google or something like that.
The point of the above is to emphasize that I know nothing about how Facebook has changed in the past few years, but even I know one thing about it that makes me call bullshit on a plot point in this film: There's no such thing as ghost code. There comes a part in this movie when one of Laura's friends investigates her account and discovers that the source code is written in some foreign code that's a result of Marina's spirit. So yeah, it's literally ghost code on her account and even I know that a website's source code can't be reconfigured to better suit a cyber-spirit.
Admittedly enough, I actually liked this movie's ending. Despite it being a jump scare ridden mess for the most of it, its very end has a nice way of tying things up and having the plot come full circle with what was established in the beginning of the film. It was just enough to prevent me from saying that I hated literally every second of this movie. As it stands, it's still a bad movie, but apparently it has an ending that's clever enough to give it some points.
In the end, "Friend Request" is full of predictable jump scares, plot holes, dumb characters and conflicting ideas, but like I just said, the ending is unique enough for a movie like this. I'm still not going to recommend you see this movie, though. Hell, you can just look up the plot synopsis on Wikipedia, read the ending yourself and save yourself being charged ten dollars for a movie ticket. This is still a bad movie that shouldn't be seen, and that's all you need to know.
Rating: Some Ol' Bullshit