Unfriended: Dark Web ★★½

like the first Unfriended, this foolishly believes its audience is in need of a physical manifestation of evil to prove that terror exists in all forms. here that malevolence is given a human face instead of that of a vengeance demon, and thusly becomes a foil to the all-around decent protagonists of DARK WEB. Proponents of the film have pointed to this movie’s cruelty towards these do-gooders as the genesis of its superior terror. But what registers as recognizably human to others seemed to register to me as merely imitation, and an irritating one, at that. an exhaustive checklist of character traits, never fleshed out w/in parameters of communication. where the first film excelled is in using sociological elements of social media and digital communication, albeit w/a heftier dose of moral ambivalence. while the first 30 mins of DARK WEB promise something akin to this, it becomes lost from the moment the aforementioned evil shows itself, becoming an extended montage of rather tame murders. if anything, this film is *less* cruel than its predecessor — where is the thrill of a murder by blender, or hair iron? why use a snuff video conceit if one cannot commit to even a fraction of the violence of Roth’s HOSTEL films? And what a whiff of an ending. Expanding the scope of this series and of the parameters w/technology used should theoretically allow for more tension but outside of a couple isolated set pieces, it is hard not to feel this is another movie (albeit a perfectly decent one) in which the audience which will be most inclined to enjoy this is an audience that doesn’t generally enjoy horror.

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