Unfriended: Dark Web

The quintessential millennial horror film, part of the “nihilist slasher” genre. Incredibly engrossing, naturalistic, and scary.

The nihilist slasher is just a regular slasher that trades the final girl for a meta-narrative of paranoia and hidden cabals. The Circle are just a lot of common people in constant communication, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. The main difference from a lovecraftian elder god is they do care about us minions, but only so far as torture objects. A nice bit of meta-commentary on the voyeurism and social network-addled people.

Visually, it’s striking how little cheating there is with all the computer interfaces. It’s mostly present on some video weirdness, lack of latency, and towards the end they include more viewer-friendly interfaces, which should indicate to the apps themselves some nice usability features to implement. The designers actually used a real computer (well, a Mac, but let’s not get there) to include all variety of edge case. Crashes and beach ball of death are incorporated into the plot (eat shit, Jobs!). Finally, the only visual effect is an eerie simulation of packet loss on video decoders!

This seems like a random direct to video release, but it’s actually not. A sequel to Unfriended, this was produced by Timur (of Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter fame), and The Blumhouse dude (of Hereditary fame).


This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.

Ephemera of Vision