I have a confession. I love found footage horror and have an undying need to protect the often-maligned subgenre from criticism. I’m not trying to excuse the absolute tripe that sometimes passes for found footage horror, but hand on my heart, one example I feel that was dismissed a little too quickly and energetically by the horror community, is Unfriended (Levan Gabriadze, 2014).
In Unfriended, the internet is a place haunted by characters’ mistakes as much as the supernatural and the insidious potential of social media is at the heart of the film’s construction of fear. A large majority of critics received the film negatively on its release, suggesting that Unfriended was an example of found footage horror trying desperately to stay relevant by co-opting the aesthetics of social media into its repertoire after riding the surveillance-cam wave of Paranormal Activity for the past decade.