Directed by Levan Gabriadze and written by Nelson Greaves, Unfriended follows a group of high school teenagers haunted by the spirit of their dead friend on the one-year anniversary of her tragic suicide.
The movie is set as one long, terrifying Skype chat in which a group of teens are terrorized by the spirit of their former friend, who committed suicide after an embarrassing video of her was posted online. At first they think it’s a prank, but when the girl starts revealing the friends’ darkest secrets, they realize they are dealing with something or someone that wants them dead.
I had the opportunity to interview Greaves about the origins of Unfriended and how the initial story came together.
As the writer, it was a challenge to come up with material that was compelling enough without having to resort to multiple locations.
“I approached this as I was writing a play… and the sort of the same logic questions and challenges that come up were going to be things we were going to be tackling,” Greaves said.
“At the same time, we also see the benefits of the play. You don’t think about anything else. It’s just the characters. It’s just the world. If you can convince people to buy into that then you can have something that’s much more dramatic than throwing chainsaws…”
Each actor was assigned their own room in the house where the movie was shot and spent long days going through the entire script in one take. The technical crew designed a system where the actors could all see and hear each other, as well as hear direction from the directors.
The filming process was far from typical. The entire movie was shot on GoPro cameras to make it look like an actual videochat.
“I’m thinking liberating is the best way to describe (the filming process). We are actors that come from improv backgrounds. I’ve worked in TV and film and you’re really not allowed to do that a lot of the time,” Courtney Halverson stated.
Overall, Unfriended is a horror film very of its time. It premieres in theaters April 17.
“We weren’t setting out to tell a digital horror story. We weren’t setting out to tell a story about digital relationships. We set out a story about the way people live now,” Greaves said.
Please note: Complimentary tickets to attend a press screening of Unfriended was provided by the PR/Marketing agency.