When Blumhouse announced that Unfriended: Dark Web would be released it caught some by surprise. The first film was an interesting change of pace when it comes to filmmaking simply by the way it was shot; it's essentially like watching a video chat on a computer for 90 minutes.
While the first film received mixed reviews, it did bring in $64 million at the box office on a budget of just $1 million. Anything less than a quickly released sequel would not be smart business. The first film centered around a ghost story, but Unfriended: Dark Web took a different approach and delivered a standalone story centered around the real-life evils in the internet. The main character is named Matias who after a few weeks of noticing a laptop unaccompanied at a local internet cafe, decides to take it for himself with the goal of creating new software to help communicate with Amaya, his girlfriend who just happens to be deaf.
While not being the best communicator in what appears to be a rocky relationship, Mathias goes on a video chat with a few friends, including Damon the tech wizard based in London, AJ the conspiracy theorist, DJ Lexx, and lesbian couple Serena and Nari. After playing a round of Cards against Humanity, Mathias finds that his laptop, which he originally tells his friends was bought legally, is actually linked to the illegal "dark web" and the owner is a player in the mysterious internet underground. While the first 20 minutes is a slow burn that might turn some viewers off, it quickly picks up the pace as the laptop's owner, known as "Charon68," holds Mathias' friends and girlfriend hostage, unbeknownst to them.
Unfriended: Dark Web keeps you on the edge of your seat, as I was fully engaged during the showing of the film, as was the rest of the theater (about 35 percent full during a weekend matinee) with not a single sight of cell phone use. Blumhouse and director Stephen Susco made an interesting choice with the ending. Depending on the theater you attended, you saw one of two endings that were released (both likely to appear on the Blu-ray release later this year). While I haven't checked online to see the second ending, I was pleased with what I was shown, though the additional ending did sound a bit more fitting with a twist of well-played irony.
As far as the reaction from moviegoers and critics, Unfriended: Dark Web has a 58 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, a 5.3/10 on IMDB, and a 53 percent Meta-critic score. However, Google users have it rated at a slight better 77 percent. The new standalone "Unfriended" film marks another solid release by Blumhouse as they continue to churn out mostly winners (lets forget Truth or Dare for the moment). If you have MoviePass or AMC A-list, it's definitely worth checking out, otherwise grab it on bluray or VOD after the summer.
-About the author-
Robert Sobel has been a horror, sports, history and movie buff for close to 30 years. He's been a professional news writer for the last seven years, with his work being promoted on various outlets like Yahoo and Google, with celebrities like Cher and Roseanne Barr sharing his content.