Saturday, March 16, 2019

Movie Reviews: Unfriended 2: Dark Web

Unfriended 2: Dark Web
directed by Stephen Susco
This movie is a stand alone sequel that was both intelligent and plausible in how the story is first drawn out and a little dumb in how the characters later react to danger. The film uses current paranoia over privacy and nasty sectors of the Internet to create a scary story. 
The vast majority if not all of the film shots are captured through computer or phone screens. With the advent of widespread Internet usage we all have a significant portion of human knowledge, history and experience at our fingertips from the comfort of our home 24-7. The flip side of this is of course that your information and identity can be shared with some amoral or completely immoral actors, corporate or otherwise. Perhaps it's Facebook suggesting that you become friends with people in your company though you have zero desire to have personal relationships with work associates. 

Perhaps you shopped on Amazon and now all the online ads you see are related to that item. Maybe you did your taxes online and your tax preparer or Internet service provider didn't mention a data breach. Five years later you learn that someone has used your SSN to file for unemployment insurance in three different states. You might allow your pre-teen child to use the net completely unsupervised. You later find anonymous inappropriate messages in your child's inbox. There's no end to the possibility for good or evil posed by the Internet.

There is not a single supernatural element in this film. But Unfriended: Dark Web uses the typical horror movie trope of someone finding something and bringing it home. Things go bad as the harmless ring/box/book/jar/etc. is actually a repository or gateway for something evil. Here the hapless sucker is Mattias (Colin Wooddell). 

It's Game Night for Mattias and his group of friends, lesbian couple Serena and Nari, AJ, Lexx and Damon. But before he can get into the games, Mattias must try his best "Please baby, please, baby, please", to win back his deaf girlfriend Amaya (Stephanie Nogueras). Amaya has had it with Mattias's avoidance of learning sign language. And she's close to dumping Mattias. If the couple stays together, Mattias needs to learn to live in her world just as much as Amaya lives in his.

Mattias has a new laptop which he's picked up from an internet cafe. I don't mean he purchased it. He picked it up from the lost and found bin. Mattias doesn't see himself as a thief, but as a liberator. This laptop is more powerful than the one Mattias had before. The only issue is it keeps rebooting. But Mattias fixes that. Soon, Mattias has logged into Facebook and Skype. He's trying to hold simultaneous conversations with his friends and Amaya. He also can't resist logging onto Facebook under the id of the previous owner, someone named Norah C IV, and seeing what they've been up to.

When Mattias explains to his friends what he's done they scold him but the entire group is curious about what else is on the laptop. They find some apparently real prank videos and other much worse items.

Privately, a person claiming to be Norah C IV contacts Mattias and demands the return of his laptop. Mattias tries to ignore Norah C IV, but when something unpleasant happens to Amaya's roommate, Mattias learns that he can't ignore this person. And then it's down the rabbit hole as the friends find themselves in a struggle for their safety, their lives, and the lives of their loved ones. As mentioned, there are some people who behave in a stupid manner to move the plot along but for the most part I liked the premise. Tension ratchets upwards very nicely. There are the requisite number of twists.

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