In a weekend dominated by sequels, Blumhouse’s new film Unfriended: Dark Web is a fun one that audiences will have a good time going to see.
A not-really-a-sequel sequel, Dark Web follows the same structure as 2015’s Unfriended. A group of people join together on a Skype call and are systematically murdered — one by one — by a nefarious force, in this case a cabal of men who call themselves the Charons. They kidnap young women and sell the rights to decide how to kill them online. When Matias (Colin Woodell) comes into possession of a laptop belonging to a member, he and his friends become the targets in a plot to get the laptop back.
The movie is pretty run-of-the-mill with formulaic plot points that serve to push the narrative forward and not much else. The writing, while tense and interesting, will never terrify you. It will, however, make you jump more than once throughout its run time. For example, there’s a scene where a woman pulls something out of her skull, which will make you cringe and jump, but then nothing happens except a really poorly sound-mixed scream.
Where I think Dark Web excels is in its performances, which, in order to relay the dire circumstances due to its “talking head” structure, relies entirely on the actors’ abilities to emote since they aren’t ever really doing anything. The most action any of them ever sees is a small fight scene (shown at a distance through a security camera) between one of the characters and one of the Charons. In particular, Rebecca Rittenhouse and Andrew Lees deserve mention here for their intense performances.
It’s surprisingly difficult to write about a movie that lies starkly in the middle between “loved it” and “hated it”, but what I can say is that Dark Web, like its sort-of predecessor, did pleasantly surprise me. I walked into the theater thinking it was going to be garbage and walked out thinking it was okay. Sometimes, “I didn’t hate it” is the best thing you can say about a movie.
Unfriended: Dark Web Skypes into theaters this weekend with 2-out-of-5 Facebook message pings.