Imagine the cliché group of friends that appear in most corny movies. Off the top of your head, you might think of the dumb blonde, the lovey-dovey couple that does everything together, the sketchy hacker who helps out the protagonist. The main character is a girl who has everything: from the best boyfriend to the best grades. Sorry to say, but this is the cast for the movie “Friend Request,” directed by Simon Verhoeven.
The movie follows a group of college students after their friend Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) has some serious stalker issues with a goth named Marina Mills (Liesl Ahlers). Marina is characterized as a goth who wants to be “best friends forever” with Laura. As the title of the movie reveals, the horror begins with a simple friend request on Facebook. Laura accepts Marina’s friend request because she likes the way her depressing, eerie drawings look on her profile — it’s not like that should have been a warning sign or anything. After she accepts Marina’s friend request, Laura comes to find that Marina is a super creepy person. She stares and smiles at Laura during class while she’s not looking. She also messages Laura obsessively, the classic online stalker move. Laura finally unfriends Marina, which sets off a mysterious chain of random suicides.
Like in most horror movies, all of the deaths are exaggerated, with blood literally being dripped through walls. After one friend request is rejected, Laura’s friends start committing suicide left and right. This is at the basis of the plotline: Laura and her friends try to solve the mystery of her friends’ deaths. If you thought “13 Reasons Why” showed extremely graphic depictions of suicide, wait until you watch “Friend Request.” The movie visually glorified suicide by showing realistic slit wrists, hangings and bullet wounds to scare the audience. There is a scene where Laura’s friend Isabel (Brooke Markham) discovers herself with slit wrists in a bathtub filled with blood and water.
The acting was also subpar. It proved to be dry and the lines felt over-exaggerated throughout the entire movie. Kobe (Connor Paolo), another of Laura’s friends, had the same, psychotic look on his face during the entire movie and said most of his lines with over-exaggeration. In fact, the whole cast seemed to be trying too hard to show their emotions, which helped make the movie so predictable and forgettable.
Some of the best scenes were the unexpected and well-timed jump scares. The camera zoomed in on the characters’ pale faces and bloodshot eyes as they slit their throats or hung themselves. The audience screamed for about a good five seconds straight, spilling their popcorn and choking on their favorite movie theater candy. Another strong aspect of the movie were the animated portions of it. Marina’s animations were beautiful and ominous, which made the movie unique. Not many horror movies use animation to scare an audience.
But even at its best, “Friend Request” is exactly what you would find in a corny Netflix horror movie. Ultimately, the whole idea of the movie was predictable. The headless dolls and the clown drawings aren’t scary if you’ve seen any other corny horror movie. It isn’t a must-see, but I highly recommend it to anyone who likes cheesy horror movies or if anyone wants a good laugh at terrible acting and a predictable plot.
Featured Photo: Lauren (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Olivia (Brit Morgan), and Isabel (Brooke Markham) experience horror movie cliches in “Friend Request.” WARNER BROTHERS.