It's the age of the internet and cyber security is never more important to prevent your entire life from falling victim to the elite hackers. Yet, for many, we have no idea what threats lay hidden in the shadows of the dark web and those who use it for evil. So of course, it would be the perfect medium to make another horror movie with, after a few of the other films have had mixed success. Thus, the focus of my next review is the sequel to a horror movie with a similar theme, but a different story. Robbie K back in action to present his latest review on:
Movie: Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)
Director: Stephen SuscoWriter: Stephen SuscoStars: Rebecca Rittenhouse, Betty Gabriel, Chelsea Alden
Unique perspective: Like the first installment, Unfriended: Dark Web takes the unique perspective of found footage through the computer. One gets to see everything happening through the virtual eyes of technology and become immersed into the experience at hand. As our "heroes" look through all the insane stuff in this film, you'll feel pulled into the journey and potentially get the feeling all this stuff is happening to you. It's unique, it's dynamic, and it's very engaging to watch.
Freaky Realism: The movie's core of scares is not so much the jumping at you moments, or a large monster, but more so how realistic this scenario can be. Dark Web isn't that farfetched a concept when you think about it and it instills a deep fear and paranoia that settles uncomfortably in your mind. If you're like me you might want to rethink how to clean up your digital foot print, and perhaps invest in some lessons on privacy. In all seriousness though, the movie's scenario will certainly keep you grounded into the suspense because the setting isn't so grandiose.
The Build-Up: Using the two previous likes, the director was able to build up some major suspense in this tale. The developers utilized solid techniques of helping uncover the mystery and white lies at the bottom of the digital rabbit hole. It provides just enough information to linger on before drawing out the thrills a little longer. This gradual balance continues to keep the suspense up and potentially lead to an exciting conclusion to come. Nice work.
The Pace: Horror movies can be slow sometimes, but for this movie that wasn't the case. Dark Web doesn't suffer from this limitation, leading to a decently paced movie that doesn't linger too long.
The Twists: The movie is pretty linear and predictable, but the story team managed to bring a few surprises with it as well. While some twists can be misguided, the movie succeeded to utilize these twists to help "justify" all that happened and sort of curb for the stupidity of the characters. It's not the best thing in the world, but it worked for me.
Predictable: The way this series continues to promote the darker themes, one can guess a lot of what is going to happen. Much of this comes from the trailers giving things away, but some of it comes from copying the first film's tactics for scares. As such, you won't be too surprised when all is said and done.
The Lacking Characters: I understand a horror movie seldom doesn't focus on stories and more on superficial scares and thrills. Still this reviewer would have appreciated characters that weren't so carbon copy of the teenage summer movie. Almost all of the group is rather stereotypical, and in truth not so likeable when you see how much they kind of overstep their boundaries. Sure, there are some exceptions, but the main character in particular brought much of this on himself. Even worse, much of their stories are pretty boring or missing altogether, with most attempts falling flat on its face. Perhaps more expansive stories could have helped add some more layers to the mix and give us better characters.
The Opening Sequence: It's about logging into a "new" computer and as such requires the character to try multiple attempts to breach the security. I'm not complaining because it really does capture the reality of the situation, however did we need nearly 10 minutes of this prolonged sequence? I don't think so, and while 10 minutes doesn't seem like much...it is in a movie barely pushing 80 minutes. Cool to be immersed, but the time could have been spent better in plot development or anything else.
Two Endings?: Yes, you heard me right, there are two finales to this movie, but it's not dependent on show times, but rather theaters. It's worthy of applause for trying to get some rewatching on this movie in regards to making the most bucks. To the fans though, having to go to two different theaters is not my idea of good marketing, especially if one of the endings is super intense and the other is a hasty wrap up. Director's cuts or reddit will be your friend on this dislike guys.
Final 25 minutes: I already stated that the first part of this movie does a nice job building things up for what will hopefully be an intense second act. True, the end is intense, but it's also very hastily rushed, compacted, and kind of skimmed over very quickly. If you are like me, a movie like this is better when your characters are challenged and potentially hurt throughout the movie, and not just the final act. Dark Web failed on this aspect and tried to finish its tale a little too quickly in the end. No amount of twists can offset this for me, but it may not be too bad for others.
Overall, Unfriended 2 was better than its horror counterpart. The plot components made more sense, the setting grounded back into realism, and it once again told a familiar story through a more immersive medium than most others. In addition, the suspense and twists keep this relatively simple film entertaining up until the end. The problems come more from some presentation flaws, such as a dragged-out opening, trying to put two endings together, and of course rushing at the end. Throw in some non-engaging characters and it wraps up this movie pretty well. The movie is okay overall, but it's going to be reserved for young adults and teens looking for a quick thrill for the summer. Still, it turned out better than I was expecting so there is a victory there. Nevertheless, I recommend holding out for home on this one.
Horror: 6.0-6.5Movie Overall: 4.5-5.0