Movies about what scares you. Or the kids.

Nelson Greaves is getting some positive press about this week's horror release: UNFRIENDED.. the movie is a twist on the safety net of the internet--a net that isn't safe at all, as we know.

UNFRIENDED takes viewers down the road of what scares him about cyberspace. Matt Barone in WIRED explains the genesis of UNFRIENDED. One day, Greaves got an email from a friend. The scary part was that the friend recently committed suicide .. Barone goes on to write in WIRED:
“It was so emotionally troubling for me,” says Greaves. “It’s such a simple thing but it made me stop and say, ‘This is like something out of a scary movie.'”

After that, Greaves started thinking about how the Internet is in many ways a secondhand cemetery, housing millions of social media profiles created by people who have passed off this mortal coil but left their Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr accounts active. That dovetailed with discomfiting memories of being a kid in the early ’90s and seeing his older sister spend hours in AOL chat rooms without ever knowing what what her chatmates looked like—for all she knew, she could have been chatting with, as Greaves puts it, “dirty 40-year-old men.” The inherent creepiness of anonymity, its potential for malevolence, always stuck with him.

The idea of monsters and FREDDY KREUGER type characters in horror movies is so cliche at this point.. the generation who is budding today with youthful vigor doesn't get freaked by Michael Myers or Jason. They are simply laughing stocks of the 20 century, relics of a time when movies were just slashing and dashing their way to cheap quick cash at box offices..

But the internet? Now that can be scary.

I think TUMBLR can often be scary..  I recall vividly the moment on my personal TUMBLR page--one I don't update much anymore because I just quite frankly thought about it too much--when I posted a family photo of me with my wife and son.. And then the photo got reblogged on another page.. But then it got reblogged on a really not so good page. I asked for the photo to be removed, the person complied, but I was sort of amazed and yet appalled with how easy it was for my personal items to be taken from me. Until it dawned on me, or hit me like a freight train: I put it out there. I was the problem. Me. I didn't realize the power of a clunky social network. How can I possibly blame someone else.

This is off the path of the movie UNFRIENDED. The actual film looks, well.. a little clunky itself. The reviews are mixed. I don't doubt it will have a successful quick fortune at the box office, even if it's not in the number 1 or even 2 place. It will also have a longer lifespan when it eventually gets to NETFLIX and others.

However the idea of the movie is what fascinates me more than the movie itself.

I remember when HALLOWEEN 8 tried an online angle way back in 2002. The movie, HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION, followed the cast of characters as they live-broadcasted a show from the Michael Myers house. Of course we know how that ends. The movie wasn't received very well. It was a disaster. It failed miserably. I don't think the concept was a failure, but perhaps the use of the internet in horror was too soon. Or maybe it is because the premise was just wrong. Instead of showcasing the internet as horror, Akkad (RIP) thought Michael would be more frightening. He wasn't.

What UNFRIENDED may be getting right: The chills and spills of the NET and how often it can give you a little bit of hair raising moments. UNFRIENDED is speaking to bigger issues ... social issues.. pop culture issues. Real issues. The fact that the monster isn't some supernatural being, but instead the vast information superhighway, now that's scary. Because we are so connected, and we are so often at the mercy of the anonymous creature or villain on the other end of the road.

When I read Greaves anecdote about getting an email from a dead friend, it reminded me iof something I wrote on  February 2014, I wrote an article on the HORROR REPORT about how, if ghosts and EVPs are real, they should be starting to appear on Facebook and the internet any time now. Then, I wondered what it would be like to suddenly get a live message on Facebook from a friend you know is dead. I spoke personally about a friend I knew who did in fact die and leave a beautiful family behind. And I was as much struck then as I am now about how Facebook pages become milestone memorial sites, with profile pictures frozen in time of the person who passes, and constant updates are thrown on the wall by friend who wish happy birthdays or Christmases, or just pop in to say they miss the person.  Maybe eventually, so as long as EVPs and contact from the dead is real, they will also learn how to use Facebook and update their page from beyond the grave.

In UNFRIENDED, the bullied soul, someone who committed suicide, enacts revenge on the cyber bullies who caused it.
Now that is scary for this generation.

About