Who is the killer in Unfriended: Dark Web?
Is it a teenager, a grown man or is it a person in the twilight of their life?
I never thought I'd have to write about a horror movie again. But this past weekend in a theatre in North Brooklyn, I saw Unfriended: Dark Web, a found-footage movie by Fion Regan and written by her husband Jason Conwick. I've been waiting to review this film for a few months now and decided this was the best time, with a fresh perspective. It's not until recently that the movie has been made available to American viewers; it's been mostly an Israeli phenomenon, opening the same day in Tel Aviv but playing in Israel today only. Unfriended has been shown around the world for over a month now, but it is not yet available to watch anywhere in North America. (The American version also features a slightly different ending.)
Unfriended is a gory found footage movie that begins at a young woman's bed. We see a girl sleeping alone with a lampshade across her face; we hear her make a sound; and then she's dead. The movie then flashes back ten years, to when she first got a smartphone; back to the year before she's found; and so on. It's the kind of movie you watch to get creeped out and not quite finished when you realize you're seeing the last few minutes from some killer's point of view.
The thing about found footage movies is you get the feeling that you're watching the movie from a monster's perspective. It's something every director tries to do. The thing about found footage movies is you get the feeling that you're watching the movie from a monster's perspective. It isn't the same as a "real" monster movie because the perspective is rarely objectivethe point-of-view character is often delusional, suffering from post-traumatic stress, or is possessed. (Even a "fake" monster movie, with its lack of a real monster, can sometimes resemble how a monster acts; Unfriended is like this.)
Most people who talk about the found footage genre call it "found." If a found footage movie is about anything, it's generally some person sitting at a computer or camera, typing or pointing or even just recording something. For better or for worse, the found footage film often follows a narrative structure that leaves something ambiguous about who is doing the filming or how.
What is the ending of Unfriended?
The ending of the 2023 Universal movie Unfriended was a pleasant shock. If you read my other review on this site, you know that I am not a huge horror fan, and I didn't really think there would be much worth the effort (that is if there is even a conclusion worth the effort). But after writing about it, I can honestly say it ended well, and not just because of the good ending. The ending was good despite being so far away from the norm.
You all probably already know that this movie takes place in the social media age. It is set within a world filled with Facebook messages, Instagram posts, Snapchat videos, Twitter timelines, and yes, Twitter DM's. However, as the movie begins, it also makes clear that people are not the only ones using the internet, and that there are always people watching. People who do things unseen or without ever being caught. This causes a large, evil presence to stalk and eventually kill a young couple on their wedding night after they make a mistake with their phone, their only escape being saved through the social media app Unfriend.
This is not the actual story. This is the story based on the ending of the film. This is not the official true ending. It is an unofficial true ending I thought was perfect. So let's go into it, because I am curious what you think.
The story begins in a dark room. In the room is a young man in a hoodie sleeping. This man is one of two survivors of this tragedy; his name is Adam or Andy. In the movie he is simply identified by his last name, and for now, we'll refer to him by that. Adam is sitting in the dark staring at his phone. He notices someone watching him from the shadows in the dark and looks up. Before he can see much, she or he gets hit in the head by something unseen, knocking them out. In the next shot they are both found in the same bed. They have a new face; the hoodies covering their heads aren't over their face anymore. Now I know why they are called zombies, this is the best one yet. Now these are called Unfriended. And the rest of the world calls them trolls. Their name is Charlie. Charlie watched you through your phone at least you assume. You never saw.
Who was the hacker in Unfriended?
It's a question that's come up in various contexts: whether a "hacker" or "vandal" is someone who breaks into computers, cracks or even creates unauthorized websites. The hacker and the vandal aren't exactly the same thing, and there's no legal definition of what they are. But they are two ends of a continuum. And the one thing you can be sure of is that your phone line may soon be linked to an IP address used by the hacker who broke into Justin Bieber's voicemail in 2023.
So the question is: Who were the hackers behind the recent spate of intrusions and malware attacks at Hollywood heavyweights? Who was the hacker who broke into the computer networks of Sony Pictures and leaked dozens of internal documents on hackers working for the studio? (As the Daily Dot reported in November, the hack appeared to have originated from Russia.) Who was the hacker who accessed the networks of Gawker Media, the tech blog that eventually became an incubator for technology-related news? And who was the hacker who accessed the Facebook pages of multiple celebrities including Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Kate Middleton, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kim Kardashian, and whose activities are widely reported to have been discovered recently? The answer to all three questions is the same: North Korean spies. North Korea, it would seem, is in the midst of a cyber-assault, attacking its enemies with software that lets them access computers remotely from afar without the knowledge of the machine's owner. In all of these cases, the North Korean government has been accused of using Stuxnet, a notorious computer virus developed by the US and Israel. Stuxnet was designed to sabotage Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges and it proved to be highly effective at doing so for a number of years, at least.
The first attacks detected against Sony's network happened weeks before Christmas and occurred several times during the holidays, according to Krebs. One of those attacks, he says, allowed a remote attacker to gain access to a system that contained a number of company proprietary documents, including information on the social network games division.
"To put this in context, this is stuff that you'd expect a company to keep private," Krebs says.
Is Unfriended 2 based on a true story?
In the spring of 2023, a woman named Jennifer Rogers had no social life. In the fall of 2023, she fell in love. To help her friend, she joined a social networking website called Facebook, which at the time had nearly one billion users. Then Rogers met her boyfriend on it.
Soon she was spending several hours a day logged into the site. She joined dozens of different groups, made dozens of friends. She looked at photos of family, friends and classmates.
One day her boyfriend asked her to unfriend him. It wasn't just a suggestion: it was a demand. Unfriending is a process in Facebook, not just a comment someone types into a wall post. You go into a group, find a person, press the "X" on his profile to de-friend him or her. In the process, your own profile changes too, displaying how many people you're friends with now, versus how many friends you had when you went into the group.
Then, if you want to, you can accept the request, or you can refuse. That's when Rogers discovered something she didn't expect: The people who were most important to her might have changed because of this.
"I didn't expect that it would be that intimate and affect me so much," she says. Rogers says she got over the crush pretty quickly, but not completely. She still had to unfriend some of her friends. A few weeks after this incident, the company asked her if she'd consider moving to another job.
In Unfriended, she shows how that change in her Facebook relationships could make other lives worse. People who were once important to her, suddenly irrelevant to her. Friendships that she once considered part of her identity, suddenly not even real. Even when she got back online, two years later, there was a sense of distance between the people in her life now and the people she once was.
"What people are saying is that even after three years, the memories are not just there. They are gone," Rogers says. "You don't even feel comfortable remembering someone by name because then you think, 'Well, if I remember their name, then they must really mean something.'"
The documentary follows Rogers for a year as she tries to figure out what happened.