Have You Been to the Movies - Or Have You Been UNFRIENDED?

Who is watching you on social media?
Who is watching you on social media? | Source

Unfriended is Better than Expected

When I heard about the 2015 film UNFRIENDED, I was intrigued.

I wondered, though, about its format of six or seven chat windows on a laptop screen. I imagined that I would not be able to follow the spoken and texted dialogue, but happily, I was incorrect!

This film is interesting and fits in with today's rampant use of communication technologies by some groups of teenagers and young adults. It outlines some of the dangers involved in the use of the Internet and social media, particularly certain aspects of bullying and shaming. Thus, the film's timeliness is evident. Rated R, it does present the more extreme results to be had by the actions of cyberbullies and unsupervised teenagers. It would probably frighten pre-teens.

For older viewers who enjoy horror films, the chat windows that show dimly lit rooms and an unidentified blank window of a troll are as effective as dark basements full of demons and dark cobwebs. We hear some of the same sound effects off screen as well, followed by apps that freeze and other delays. This film could make your blood pressure rise.

At a cost of only $1,000,000 to produce... “Unfriended” made $16,000,000 across 2,739 theaters on its first Friday and Saturday. - Variety 4/19/2015

Why Was I Unfriended and Lost a Follower !?

An amusing commercial for some product I cannot remember features three senior ladies in a living room, where one lady has posted all her Polaroid snapshots to her living room wall (Wall, as in Facebook jargon). The lady has no computer.

As the first lady tells about her photos, a second lady smiles and nods. The third lady, who knows what social media actually is and does, is exasperated. She tries to explain to the other two, neither of whom understands. The first lady finally says, " I unfriend you." The tech-savvy lady is incredulous.

I laugh every time I see this commercial, but the horror film UNFRIENDED (Universal Pictures, 2015), is not so funny. Many people fret when they lose an online "follow" or "friend", but after seeing this film, they may be glad to get rid of some others.

Social Media Poll

How many hours a day do you spend on Social Media activity?

  • 0 to 1
  • 1-2
  • 2-3
  • Over 3 hours a day
See results without voting
Source

Social Media Involvement

Many people who use social media become upset when a "friend" or a follower or a fan unfollows them. The unfriending becomes an act of evil aggression in the minds of some of the unfriended.

A portion of the remainder wonder, "What did I do wrong?" Nothing, probably.

It means little when technology users follow others and then lose their accounts for infractions of TOS, making their accounts and "follows" disappear. Some other users are playing games of friending and unfriending for entertainment. Others unfriend people, because they disagree with their political or religious beliefs, or because they want to upset someone - that is fun for them. In all, I think that a healthy psychological adjustment does not include dwelling on being unfriended.

Technology has given rise to something akin to Internet/Technology Addiction and a new type of paranoia, I think - Fear of Unfriending, we might name it as a popular culture term (and I hope I never see it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the APA!).

The teens portrayed in UNFRIENDED are not the crowd I would have joined in high school, but they make good examples of people who misuse social media without realizing that their actions will result in consequences for themselves as well as for their targets.

Source

Fear Factors

Which one of these might frighten you most?

  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of grey hair.
  • Fear of unemployment.
  • Fear of homelessness.
  • Fear of Unfriending.
See results without voting
The motto for a technology generation.
The motto for a technology generation. | Source

Six Friends and Their Computers

The film UNFRIENDED centers on computer records left behind by six high school students under age 18 who chatted in a multi-user application online every night beginning at 9:00 PM. Their parents were never home at this hour.

Murder is a character all its own in this film.
Murder is a character all its own in this film. | Source

Tech Gadgets Everywhere

In "found footage", three teen girls and three teen boys are equipped with desktop and laptop computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones - I think I saw a 3D Printer - and other technology.

One young man is a stereotypical "tech geek" and keeps all the corners of his room piled with technology gadgets and servers he is building. He can mix alcoholic drinks in a blender with one hand, while he texts and posts to Facebook with the other hand.

The other five teens talk on Skype, drink, post to Facebook, send instant messages, use their cell phones, argue, name-call, download joke snapshots, and try to figure out how to block an online troll.

It is the one-year anniversary date of the handgun suicide of a classmate after someone posted a shaming video of her Facebook. Two videos feature two 16-year-old girls in compromising, unconscious positions after heavy alcohol intake. All the students at the high school thought it was funny, until one of the girls shot herself.

After the death, some students said and posted that the girl - and other teen girls in the school - deserved to die, because they are bullies and "mean girls." Even so, retaliation by cyberbullying is also a crime.

Dark bedrooms can be more frightening than dark basements.
Dark bedrooms can be more frightening than dark basements. | Source

Dark Rooms are Scarier than Basements

One night the six friends online are simply stuck to their technology, unable to leave their houses or even their bedrooms, when a hacker troll cuts into all their accounts and says he or she is the dead girl.

The deceased's Facebook account is active and someone is posting from it, looking for the people who posted the shaming video. The unknown message sender demands to know.

Stuck in their dark rooms, and some drinking a lot of alcohol, the teens are horrified and behave erratically. One waves a handgun around. They scream, pound things, cry -- Each one of them has something to hide.

Text conversations and videos of couples cheating on each other surface. The hacker-troll threatens murder. The teens online cannot get rid of him. They call police several times, but the officers never arrive. Their parents never come home. In fact, we hear that two of the dads are out drinking.

Online apps can freeze.
Online apps can freeze. | Source

Technology is Frustrating

Communication technologies are frustrating, even when working correctly. Batteries die, signals are lost. Emails do not go through. Keyboards and screens freeze. Apps malfunction. The effects of these glitches compound when someone online is bothering you.

In UNFRIENDED, the apparent ghost of a dead girl is not going to simply unfriend people - she is going to punish all of those who posted shaming videos and evil comments about her. While she threatens teenagers through texting, their apps go down repeatedly; pictures pixelate, and the power goes out. The rotating circle that means "working" won't stop. Malignant pictures download too slowly. Horrible secrets come out.

Sitting in the dark and terrified, the threatened teenagers cannot get out their chairs. The "ghost" gains control of all six of their computers and life becomes hell.

This film is rated R for language, gore, drugs/alcohol, and some sexuality; but middle schoolers could benefit from the lessons herein.

This film also contains a good measure of blood and gore by surpising means, for those of you who like that feature. By the last scene, none of the teens are in any kind of shape to use technology.

Source

© 2015 Patty Inglish

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Comments 20 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

A very interesting concept. I am afraid to venture just how true to life the story line is.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 17 months ago from North America Author

@Ericdierker - I saw a few case studies of suicides and a murder connected to cyberbullying. None were as gruesome as portrayed in this film, but the danger is certainly there. I hope kids will be careful online.


mepperly profile image

mepperly 17 months ago from Vancouver,WA

Great hub.. love the polls


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 17 months ago from North America Author

Thanks for reading!


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

Cyberbullying is as real as the individual makes it.

Interesting article.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 17 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hi Patty, this does not look like a film that I would venture out to see. I see by the first weekend gross that they will not miss my $12.50 or $8.00 if they offer a Senior discount.

Good review and I am sure that anyone who reads your review will think twice about this movie. I surprisingly have seen signs of bullying right here at HP.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 17 months ago from North America Author

@mckbirdbks - If the film's information could be attached to some cases of actual suicide and homicide in such a way as to educate middle-schoolers without traumatizing them, then I think that would be a good thing.

Bullying may appear in any and all groups, I think, but I hope that is not the case. I think it needs to be called out every time, and bullies separated from others by blocking, etc.


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 17 months ago from Pennsylvania

The movie sounds totally intriguing and appropriate for today's world.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 17 months ago from North America Author

Yes, these things can happen; I read elsewhere on HubPages about a couple of suicides caused by cyberbullying and even a murder.


SirDent 17 months ago

Great hub. Two suicides due to cyber bullying that I recollect from memory are Megan Meiers and Mitchell Henderson. Megan was "set up" by an adult woman, and her daughter, who was a friend of the family, pretending to be a boy who was interested in Megan.

Mitchell was made fun of on Youtube because he lost his Ipod and made a video or something like that speaking about it. Even after he was dead, they continued making fun of him.

Many who do these things are members of a group or a site. I remember a site simply titled b/4 was responsible for a lot of the stuff that goes on in chatrooms and other social sites. They do it for lulz, meaning a reaction they deem to be funny to the stuff they post, which is troll like to begin with.

The commercial you wrote about, the photos on the wall with three old ladies, is an esurance commercial.

I am not sure if I will ever watch the movie but I do like your review of it. It seems to be on point also and also on time due to the world we live in right now. Much kudos to you sissy.


mary615 profile image

mary615 17 months ago from Florida

This does not sound like my kind of movie at all. I prefer happy, Disney type of movies.

I guess we have all heard of cyberbullies and the damage they can cause.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 17 months ago from North America Author

@SirDent - I remember the Megan Meiers case in the news and both the ones you mention are horrible. I'd no idea that trolls set up sites like b/4 to bully people en masse on the Internet, like a bullying club. Surely a waste of talent and life. Glad you posted a comment!

The film as a good message, but I don't know that'd I'd go see it on my own; I do want the message to get out, though.

esurance! I can never remember that product, anyway, commercial or none.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 17 months ago from North America Author

@mary615 - Yes, Disney is much happier, except for maybe Old Yeller. Unfriended definitely gives the viewer a horror.


Alphagirl 17 months ago

I use to be more active here at Hp. I liked your commentary about the movie. Social media, a tool has cripple us in many aspects. We do not delve deep or think. We text. Fbook to me allowss us to do self exploitation. We have ourselves to blame for posting every personal thought and emotion.

Unfriended is scary because it is intanglible and yet as humans we let it affect us. Sad.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 17 months ago from North America Author

Thanks for you comments; I agree with you.


drbj profile image

drbj 17 months ago from south Florida

I'm certain this film will be very profitable since it appears to appeal to the teenage crowd. But it does not appeal to me. I'd rather view an action film or a comedy.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 17 months ago from Jamaica

Seems like an interesting movie to me. It's not here in Jamaica yet but I would like to get it on DVD. I have been cyber bullied and stalked more than once, so I would like to know how this movie portrays such behavior.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 17 months ago from North America Author

@drbj - And you probably already know how to deal with and avoid cyberbullies!

@Cardisa - I also have been stalked and cyberbullied in the past and learned how to report people and block them, take legal action, and however else it can be done in each case. It was an ordeal! The film is a little over the top, but the shaming videos look real and the relentlessness of the troll online is fairly real. The teens left alone at home with alcohol and computers is also real of some cases. None of those kids in the film have a good ending.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 17 months ago from Jamaica

Patty, sounds like a tear-jerking emotional movie to me. I've seen the trolling online, the real *ssholes who target people just to harass them. They stay behind their computers and do this stuff because no one knows who they are.

I really feel for children who are exposed to this. Somehow cyber-bullying and harassment is a little more heartbreaking than usual because 99% of the time you have no clue who the perpetrator is. So this give you a disadvantage. You are not able to confront them face to many times, there is the residual fear of meeting new people online.

Kids fare even worse as the suicide rate increases each year. they don't know how to handle this stuff, they are kids and most times they feel they can't tell anyone. It breaks my heart.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 17 months ago from North America Author

I agree - it's totally reprehensible of these online attackers and no one should have to suffer form them, much less kids. It is terrifying.

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