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Friend Request (DQ)


Stars: Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Liesl Ahlers, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Susan Danford, Sean Marquette, Shashawnee Hall

Director: Simon Verhoeven

A well-made horror film with a slightly different (if no less silly) slant to the run of the mill, concentrating as it does on evil via computer.

Creepy rather than scary, the narrative centres on Laura (Debnam-Carey), the most popular girl in the school, who takes pity on the school weirdo, Marina (Ahlers), who has no friends, and responds to her 'friend request'. Bad move.

Desolate at not being invited to Laura's birthday party, Marina burns and hangs herself, her evil spirit returning to wreak vengeance on Laura's friends, the aim being to make Laura as friendless as Marina herself originally was.

It does make a change from a masked, machete-wielding maniac on the loose, but then this is more Japanese-influenced than Hollywood. All the same, Laura's friends do start dying one by one in the most horrific, gory and violent ways imaginable, as Laura fights to find and smash the mirror in front of which Marina hanged herself (no, don't ask).

The plot never quite overcomes its own silliness, but at least horror ghouls won't feel cheated as their favourite genre moves into the cyber age. Australian Debnam-Carey is appealing and sounds convincingly American, although Brit Moseley's natural accent does keep peeping through.

David Quinlan

USA/Germany/South Africa 2016. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by Alpha Cine.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 23 Apr 2016