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Unfriended: Dark Web
Stephen Susco

Back in 2014, director Levan Gabriadze and scriptwriter Nelson Greaves brought something refreshing to the horror genre; a laptop-based story on cyber-horror called Unfriended.

Four years later, Stephen Susco makes his directorial debut with a low-budget follow-up of the 2014 horror film, again taking place entirely on a laptop screen and boasting some inspiring suspense.

While there is still the average checklist of browsing, clicking, screaming and dying, Susco’s stand-alone Unfriended: Dark Web is a surprisingly fun portrayal of the twisted digital world around us.

The movie trades the original supernatural horror for a sinister dark web conspiracy. The story follows Matias (Colin Woodell), a software developer who after finding a laptop at a local cafe, makes the fatal mistake of taking it as his own.

On a lazy game night, Matias and his group of friends plan a video call via Skype. It seems that the previous owner is still logged in to his Facebook page, which is blowing up with weird messages. On top of that, Matias discovers a hidden folder of wildly disturbing video files, which makes him start wondering what the previous owner was up to.

This is when things start to take a grim turn, as one by one the friends fall victim to a ruthless group of hackers whose skills and intentions are so dark that they might as well be supernatural.

Susco takes things clearly down a different path. In 2018’s version, the villains attacking young people are not vengeful ghosts. Susco’s vision of Unfriended: Dark Web is to show exactly what the title indicates: the vile and sinister side of the internet.

What is particularly striking in this movie, is how oddly relevant it is. The internet is a storehouse of secrets, dangers, and threats. In an era of serious cyber crimes and online mysteries, Susco creates a fun movie that toys with the web’s darkness.

Of course, it comes with flaws and plot holes, but the likability of the characters, the refreshing cinematography, and the underlying topic of the disturbing digital age make Unfriended: Dark Web a movie worth watching.

Maria Kriva, HMS

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