Horrors of Blumhouse

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time for sweaters, festive gourds, pumpkin spice everything, and, of course, Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. This year, “The Horrors of Blumhouse” returns to Horror Nights, with mazes that focus on Blumhouse filmsUnfriended and Truth or DareUnfriended is about a haunted computer and Truth or Dare is about people who smile too much (I think?), so I’m not sure how this will work. Let’s find out, shall we?

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computer screen movies

Computer screen movies – stuff like Unfriended and Searching – are becoming more and more popular, and we have one person to thank for that: Timur Bekmambetov. The filmmaker and producer is at the forefront of “Screenlife“, a technology that tells stories through computer screens. And Bekmambetov doesn’t plan on stopping – he’s currently developing 14 computer screen movies, across a variety of genres. The question is: does the general public want to see them?

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unfriended dark web endings

You may have to see Unfriended: Dark Web twice. Not because the Blumhouse horror film will be difficult to absorb or because there are multiple layers to the Unfriended sequel, but because there are allegedly two different endings. And both of them will be shown in theaters.

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unfriended dark web trailer

When every minor horror hit gets a sequel, it’s a pleasant surprise when the follow-up turns to be actually, well, good. And now it can be a pleasant surprise for fans of Unfriended, the 2014 computer-driven film that itself was a surprise hit. After making a splashy debut at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Unfriended: Dark Web will hit theaters next week to once again make you terrified of your laptop camera. But first, the final  trailer has hit the web.

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Unfriended Dark Web trailer

The surprisingly effective 2014 computer-driven horror film Unfriended gets the sequel treatment with Unfriended: Dark Web. The film focuses on a teenager who finds hidden files on his new laptop, and soon learns that the previous owner has been spying on him the entire time. Watch the Unfriended: Dark Web trailer below.

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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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5 Terrifying Social Media Horror Movies

Social Media Horror Movies

Robert Mockler’s Like Me is a surreal “loner with a web page” meltdown starring Addison Timlin as the filmmaker’s millennial muse. It is, with title wordplay intended, very much a commentary on finding comfort in today’s technofied age and how civilization now measures happiness in status “likes” or hot-take “retweets.” As you might expect, some find this to be an unhealthy trend. Thus the Molotov cocktail that is Like Me was hurled with incendiary intent – quite a daring and flashy debut feature, I might add.

Mockler’s isn’t the first social media thriller to rock glazed-over audiences (and based on cinematic adaptations of appropriate social trends, it certainly won’t be the last). This inspired me to compile an accompanying list of movies so you can see how other filmmakers interpret the same thematic fears. From slashers to found footage to educational indies, there’s plenty worth an introspective wince as you witness how our new(ish) handheld habits exploit age-old insecurities. Let’s just try to make sure life doesn’t imitate this particular brand of art? Like, more than it already does.

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friend request

This coming weekend sees the release of a new horror movie hoping to scare audiences out of a few bucks, and we’re hoping it delivers despite seeming destined to open lower than a certain other horror movie heading into its third weekend. I’m looking at you, Stephen King’s IT.

If nothing else, Friend Request stands apart from the old-fashioned thrills of killer clowns and pervy dads by hitching its jump scare-filled wagon to something far trendier. Yes, of course I’m referring to the dangers of social media. The film sees a popular young woman accept a friend request from someone much lower on the social ladder, but when she realizes her faux pas and ends the “friendship,” she discovers a demonic presence who isn’t too keen on saying goodbye.

The internet has offered an enormous boon to commerce, education, and cowardice, but while it brings users together there’s no doubt it’s also keeping people apart. The idea of humanity losing touch with the very connections that make us human is frightening enough in the abstract, but over the years, filmmakers have found and focused on very specific nightmares related to our increasingly online existence. The resulting movies haven’t all been winners – sorry Smiley and Open Windows – but a few have tapped into universally felt fears easily enhanced and magnified by the global nature and anonymity of the online world.

Keep reading for a look at the eight scariest internet-related horror movies.

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Cybernatural

The basic plot of Unfriended is as standard-issue as they come. You’ve got six charismatic, photogenic young actors tormented by a mysterious force, which seems to know things it couldn’t possibly know. But two things set the film apart. One is the gimmick — the entire film unfolds in realtime on a single laptop screen. The other is what it has to say about bullies and bullying. (Spoilers ahead for Unfriended.Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Unfriended movie wondercon

The upcoming horror film Unfriended already has a unique look. From the first scene to the last, the entire thing takes place on a computer monitor as a bunch of friends interact on Skype and realize one of their dead friends may have returned, and is trying to kill them. However, what we learned at the WonderCon 2015 panel on the film is that director Levan Gabriadze took that concept to a whole new level. Each actor was in a separate room, actually on a computer, and they shot the entire movie in one take, in real time.  Read More »