Cybernatural aka Unfriended
Director: Levan Gabriadze
Writer: Nelson Greaves
Cast: Shelley Hennig, Heather Sossaman, Courtney Halverson, Moses Storm, Will Peltz, Renee Olstead, Jacob Wysocki
Seen on: 19.8.2015
It’s the anniversary of the suicide due to (cyber-)bullying of one of her schoolmates and friends, Laura (Heather Sossaman). Blaire (Shelley Hennig) spends the evening chatting, first with her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Storm), then they are joined by Jess (Renee Olstead), Ken (Jacob Wysocki) and Adam (Will Peltz). Part of their conversation on skype is also an anonymous account that none of them invited but that can’t be removed either. They suspect that it might be Val (Courtney Halverson) pranking them, but when they ask her, Val says she knows nothing about that. Panic starts to rise between the friends, especially when the anonymous account starts interacting with them and knows way more than they have any right to know.
Cybernatural takes place entirely on Blaire’s laptop screen [apart from a single shot that I won’t give away] and contrary to many found footage movies, they stick to that concept admirably. The rest of the film is pretty much your standard, if entertaining teen slasher, though.
Plotwise Cybernatural has very little to offer. You get a standard movie group of friends who maybe only differ from other such groups through the speed with which they start tearing into each other. The plot develops in no surprising directions and I could pretty much tell you the order in which they’d all die. The acting is also not amazingly great, although it is not bad and entirely sufficient for what the script demands of the cast.
Literally the only thing that makes Cybernatural not something we’ve seen a million times before is the concept with the laptop screen and its adherence to that concept. It works surprisingly well, though not entirely flawless. I also got a little annoyed by the freeze screens that always happened at just the right moment (especially the gory moments. When you have gore in your film let me see it).
Cybernatural is a story about bullying. But that part felt rather weak to me. Most of the bullying we see is done by some evil entity. The bullying of Laura, though, which is done by regular people in regular circumstances, barely gets any screentime and is never shown as severe as it could have been shown. The final reveal goes in the right direction, but then the movie is almost over and the reveal itself feels more important the what is revealed.
Despite its weakness, though, Cybernatural was fun to watch, entertaining and never boring. I saw it rather late at night and as the third film of the day – and I didn’t fall asleep once. That’s already quite a feat.