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Stars: Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki

Director: Levan Gabriadze

Long before PCs delivered cyberspace to anyone who could afford them, HAL 9000 firmly established the malign side of computers in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Here director Levan Gabriadze and screenwriter Nelson Greaves efficiently bring producer Timur Bekmambetov’s quoted idea - “Somebody’s got to make a movie about the part of our lives we spend digitally connected” -to the screen in a horror movie whose gimmick – the entire movie takes place on a computer screen – tends to wear thin before the denouement.

The shocker neatly segues straight into its on-screen environment with the Universal logo falling apart as if appearing on a computer screen whose input was going awry.

The image then settles down to the lap-stop screen on which the entire action takes place,

Teenagers Shelley Hennig and boyfriend Moses Storm are enjoying their Skype session when their friends Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki and Courtney Halverston join them their online conversation.

Then the online chat turns dangerously sour when their former schoolmate Heather Sossaman turns up on screen and interrupts their chat.

Sossaman is not your average Internet troll, however.

The evening marks the anniversary of her suicide a year previously after suffering a campaign of online abuse.

She has returned from the dead as an inexorable vengeance-driven, supernatural troll who proceeds to subject her former ‘friends’ to a living nightmare of terror…

Gabriadze creates an effective enough atmosphere of fear and stages some suitably nasty set pieces; and a competent but hardly outstanding star-free cast adds impact - but even at a relatively short running time, terror tends to evaporate before the climax.

And, while staging the whole show on a (albeit cinema-sized) computer screen impresses as slick moviemaking, I found the storytelling becoming visually tedious.

Computer geeks will, I’m sure, tell me that I’m wrong. But that’s Show Business!

Obviously Unfriended is a must for horror movie completists and, possibly, for computer geeks too.

Alan Frank

Russia/USA/Poland/Germany/Puerto Rico 2015. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
82 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 04 May 2015