Please Note: This review was written after seeing an unfinished version of the film during SXSW on March 13, 2015.
It seems that computer screen horror is catching on rather quickly and I’m not sure how I feel about it. In the past couple years we’ve had The Den and Open Windows; in both films the actions is presented through a computer screen. The Den worked to an extent and was creative for the most part, but Open Windows didn’t work out because it was so silly. . . well, to me anyway.
Unfriended has the same presentation but it works. Like Open Windows, it runs in real time and that’s one of the main things that works. Our story is told through a Skype chat between five friends who hold a secret. During one of their chats they are introduced to another visitor. They are unsure who this person is and try to get rid of this unknown entity, but remain unsuccessful despite multiple attempts. Soon they realize this person may be someone that they know from their past who is dead set on terrorizing them.
In a break from my normal oeuvre, a couple of weeks ago I went with my other half to see the “supergroup” (a term I am perhaps exaggerating here) McBusted, formed of McFly and Busted, both of whom enjoyed success in the UK a decade ago. Whilst I knew what I would expect as to the venue (faceless stadium) and the clientele (a mix of tweens and 30-somethings reliving their student days), what really stood out to me was the way in which this concert exemplified the current mass-music scene in the UK.
By Jesse Greener
The overwhelming consensus by scientists is that the Earth is experiencing human induced global warming, and there is strong evidence pointing out that the sixth mass extinction on the Earth is underway. Yet somehow, there is disbelief about the measurable fact that temperatures are rising and weather patterns are changing, not to mention disbelief that humans have anything to do with it.
On the leading edge of this kind of denial are the 46 percent of Americans who believe in creationism. We are talking about believing that the Bible is literally correct. This means accepting that the Universe is 6,000 years old, that the Ark was actually built by Noah and his family (from which all terrestrial life on Earth traces its origins), and Adam and Eve and the whole nine yards. Leading this crusade, if I may, is Ken Ham, curator of the Creationism Museum. You may remember Ham and his museum which were featured previously in Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous. (You can watch the entire movie if you get bored with this review)
Earlier this month, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” traveled to Ham’s home turf in Petersburg, Kentucky to debate. You can read play-by-play reviews of the debate and you can even watch the whole thing yourself. (Warning, it’s two hours plus in length.) Reviews were mixed. On the one hand, Nye was condemned for giving creationists a platform, whereas others such as Phil Plait thought it was high time that the “educated masses” recognized that creationism and its anti-science foundations need to be taken seriously and confronted.
Admittedly, I haven’t been keeping up with teen movies lately, but Plus One is way better than the ones I remember from decades past.
A few weeks ago, in search of a television show I could marathon that didn’t require too much brainpower, I decided to give Arrow a chance. The CW show is the sexy retelling of The Green Arrow, a character from the DC comic universe who fights crime with only his wits, a bow and arrow, and a multibillion dollar corporation that was bequeathed to him by his late father. It looked like a soap opera with action sequences. It looked dumb as hell.
It looked perfect.
Our beloved editor is typing her fingers to the bone, blogging for TIFF 2013, but that doesn’t mean you can’t check out all the great new stuff on Popshifter this week!
The Internet lost its hive-mind this past week when it was announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel, but Paul makes a great case for why it doesn’t matter at all; Melissa gets greasy with Lux Interior; Chelsea gets ethereal with The Copper Gamins; new contributor Tim shines a spotlight on the venerable Pere Ubu; Brad goes into the light with his review of Fire in the Sky; Less Lee provides her recap of FanExpo Canada 2013; and finally, I start a new Waxing Nostalgic series and offer an essay about when movies were movies, not digital presentations.
“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
—Arthur C. Clarke
In 1975, Travis Walton was abducted by aliens, and his abduction is one of the most well-known close encounters in history. Not only was a film made out of it, but those who conducted tests and the officers that were involved have also said it was not a hoax. This was due to the results of polygraph tests taken by those who witnessed the abduction.
In 1993, a film was made that scared the freaking crap out of me: Fire in the Sky. I was nine at the time of its release, and it has stayed with me to this day. If my memory serves me correctly, I saw it at the theater and again on a late night showing on HBO. I think being alone and watching it on HBO was what really did me in.
New this week on Popshifter: Jeff praises The Armoury Show’s “gorgeously slick cathedral Goth with strangely danceable grooves” in the Cherry Red reissue of Waiting For The Floods; Danny calls the new Meat Puppets album, Rat Farm, “the band’s most playful and diverse offering since 1985″; Melissa B. laments the passing of George Jones in her review of the CD reissues of George Jones Country and You’ve Still Got A Place In My Heart; I describe the “geographic grandeur” of the full-length, self-titled debut from Big Black Delta; describe how no-budget, sci-fi flick Manborg “comes from the heart”; explain the “nuanced, complicated” joys of A Royal Affair; congratulate Melvins on their excellent album of covers, Everybody Loves Sausages; and get excited and photo-happy about the upcoming Vicki Berndt art show in Los Angeles.
New this week on Popshifter: Luke encourages us to stop complaining about gaming and raves over Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; Paul is righteously indignant about the sexist responses to Anita Sarkeesian’s first Tropes vs. Women video; Cait says Bowie’s The Next Day has “an urgency, an energy and intensity long missing;” Hanna calls Alasdair Roberts & Friends’ A Wonder Working Stone “truly remarkable;” Lisa feels Oz the Great and Powerful is “too flawed” for a popcorn movie; Chelsea encourages SXSW attendees to check out the rock en español of Café Tacvba, Bajofondo, and Molotov; I think Girls Names’ The New Life is “damn fine,” am impressed with the “outstanding performances” in Jack & Diane, get my hackles up about “mocktresses,” talk about upcoming horror film Lord of Tears, and give an overview of Canadian Music Week Film Fest 13.
New this week on Popshifter: John is in love with the Paul Williams: Still Alive documentary now on DVD; Chelsea explains how the reissued 1972 solo album from Emily Bindiger “transcends its time period” and delights in the “unexpected rewards” of Las Acevedo; I share new remixes and videos from Parenthetical Girls and David Bowie and recommend the new Skyfall Blu-Ray as “a huge leap forward as well as a return to Bond’s roots.”