Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: UnFriended: Dark Web

5 of 5 viewers "Liked" "Unfriended: Dark Web" (2018, USA)
Creature reviews have been minimally altered in an attempt to maintain their voice:

Lord Battle - "If you consider yourself computer literate but not savvy enough for a tech job, Unfriended: Dark Web just might scare the shit out of you. Seriously, if you've covered a computer camera with tape before, this film might make you consider installing a rootery phone. Unfriended: Dark Web is a terrifying hallmark of modern culture mythology and at one time manages to be fast-paced enough for the worst of the phone abusing current theatergoers, yet employs a perfect illusion of a story unfolding live. As a fanboy of the found footage genre, I find this to be as entertaining as the best of them. As a self-proclaimed found footage philosopher, I find the medium exploration to be enthralling, but yet I can't forgive the final moment of this film even if the reveal was worthwhile." - 4.5 Stars

The Berekely Blazer - "The original Unfriended was immersive, using a virtually uninterrupted social media viewer POV to tell the familiar story of teenagers of dubious morality being punished for their supposed sins in a riveting way. This sequel changes the focus from supernatural (?) ghost revenge to diabolical dark web haxxors, hence the title Dark Web. Once again, we are pulled into the lives of assorted lively young Skype faces, this time former college chums who are overall less juvenile in age and manner than the first Unfriended.  The computer screen conception still holds together here, and the promise of our cast wandering closer and closer to danger drives us to care about (or at least take interest in) their fate, even when things take a turn for the mildly absurd.  Despite having a relatively realistic premise, Dark Web feels a bit more madcap horror hijinks than horrifying. It’s never not interesting, but 2/3rds of the way in I lost a sense of tension and was amusedly yet genuinely curious about how everything would unfold.  Mild non-narrative spoiler:  the film becomes a Rube-Goldberg of death showpiece i.e. a non-supernatural final destination.  It doesn’t hurt the film, but it’s ultimately not as disturbing as straightforward rising emotional crescendo that was the original. A final note: Dark Web is surprisingly restrained when it comes to gore, considering how it’s been promoted. I appreciated this, but particular types of horror people may leave the theatre dissatisfied." - 3.5 Stars

Huntress - "Too often sequels rely on the success of their first films to bring them a built in audience, regardless of whether they deserve the attention or not. Luckily that was not the case with Unfriended: Dark Web. Although entirely unrelated to Unfriended, Dark Web is a strong stand-alone film that takes the familiar Skype POV filming style and loads it with creative solutions to keep it from getting stale. The kills are original and I almost didn't want them to happen because I liked so many of the characters. And although some of the dialogue didn't feel like something a human being would say, most of it felt authentic. And the hurdles that were thrown at them were intense. My only complaint is that everyone in this movie was too pretty, which made it feel too Hollywood." - 4 Stars

The Impostor - "Finally a new found footage film on the big screen again! Unfriended: Dark Web did not disappoint. If you enjoy the original Unfriended that was released in 2014, then you will love its sequel as well. Dark Web takes a different and wider approach to the internet world and the dark side of things. The characters this time around are likable for the most part and I found myself caring for them more than I expected to. I recommend going in blind and trying to avoid any previews, as there are a few surprises that shocked me. An overall satisfying sequel that I think is as good as the original, if not better!" - 5 Stars

Wandering Panda - "'They're Watching...' I love this film!! It's a really scary portrayal of the 'Deep Web' and what now seems like a more accurate depiction of human trafficking. It's believable. The film locked me in and I very much enjoyed it. I praise the editors for the fluidity of this film and making it seem like one long take!!! Amazing, simply amazing. The cast is great, I liked them more than the first cast. They used their brains and acted accordingly, though they were severely outmatched!! That's the one thing I didn't like; there was no moment of hope. They never stood a  chance!! But that's nitpicking. I advise anyone who knows the slightest bit about computers to watch this film. You'll enjoy it more than a casual user." - 4.5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Our screening at the AMC Metreon was a little over half full. I've been thinking about this ever since the screening... Personally, I'm upset because I love the Found Footage horror genre and would like to see more films hit wide releases (Unfriended 2 won't help this cause). I was also upset because the movie is fucking GOOD. The audience's reaction that night ranged from a lady behind us saying "I'm going home and smashing my computer" to a guy three seats to our left laughing at every kill. Mind you, this film plays out like a more realistic version of the original, minus a ghost. Our neighbor was clearly trying to distance himself. I will admit that the film ramps up to a point that gets a little hard to swallow, but that's when I was reminded of San Francisco's own Dread Pirate Roberts, who easily could have been cast as a character in this film.

The Dread Pirate Roberts aka Ross Ulbricht

When the FBI arrested Ulbricht in the science fiction section of a San Francisco public library in October of 2013, his fingers were literally on the keyboard of his laptop, logged into the Silk Road's "mastermind" account. On his seized laptop's hard drive, investigators quickly found a journal, daily logbook, and thousands of pages of private chat logs that chronicled his years of planning, creating and day-to-day running of the Silk Road. That red-handed evidence was bolstered by a college friend of Ulbricht's who testified at trial that the young Texan had confessed creating the Silk Road to him. On top of that, notes found crumpled in his bedroom's trashcan connected to the Silk Road's code. Ulbricht's guilty verdict was even further locked down by a former FBI agent's analysis that traced $13.4 million worth of the black market's bitcoins from the Silk Road's servers in Iceland and Pennsylvania to the bitcoin wallet on Ulbricht laptop.

My point here is that maybe our homie three seats down was laughing at how implausible the whole story was. Why would the Dark Web look like an 8-bit river?! Well, why would a 30-year-old refer to himself as a character from the Princess Bride? Seriously, click both of the above links and then go see Unfriended: Dark Web!

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized at AMC Metreon for an early screening on 7/12/2018
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not affect the rating.

No comments:

Post a Comment