Unfriended: Dark Web Review

What is a franchise? Is it a series of movies that form a grand, ongoing, and connected narrative like the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Or is it a series of movies made with similar stylistic intentions, connected by a familiar aesthetic like the Cloverfield films? That second definition feels like the wave of the future for small genre movies: sell audiences on a movie by slapping a familiar name on it, sort of a “If you liked that, you may also like this” label.

It’s hard to not think about Cloverfield, and that second definition of franchise, while watching writer/director Stephen Susco’s Unfriended: Dark Web. Here’s a horror sequel that looks an awful lot like the first film, but shares nothing with it beyond the fact that it’s told entirely though a computer screen. The threats couldn’t be more different and the tone is a hard left turn from the teen-friendly, popcorn-flavored jolts of Unfriended: Original Recipe. Instead, Dark Web is darker, meaner, and far more clever. It’s more polished, more in control of how to tell a story in this format. It’s a sequel in name only and it’s an improvement in every single way.

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