Universal’s microbudget horror flick Unfriended has been scaring up business at the box office, opening to more than $15 million and garnering positive reviews from both critics and audiences. Taking place entirely on a computer monitor, the film follows a group of friends chatting via Skype on the anniversary of a classmate’s suicide – an act in which they may have all played a role.
We managed to catch up with producer Jason Blum and the cast of Unfriended during WonderCon 2015 to chat about the film’s unique approach to horror, and their thoughts on the rise of cyberbullying among teens. You can check out the video below for the full recap, or keep reading for some of the highlights.
On bringing something new to the genre that no one has tried before:
Jason Blum (producer): I actually saw a rough cut of it before we were involved, and I felt like I’d never seen a story told like this. And that’s what we’re looking for – we’re looking for stuff that, first of all, is really scary, but second of all and equally important, [stuff] that’s new. And I think those two things go together, I think if it’s a new kind of storytelling, it makes it scarier.
Courtney Halverson (“Val”): Even when we were filming it, we knew it was something that nobody had done before. Found footage has been around for awhile, but it’s always been done in the same way. With this being on a desktop, it’s completely different.
Will Peltz (“Adam”): To be honest, the concept is what hooked me. That was what made me want to do this film so much. We’re moving into such a digital age, and it’s so cool to watch an entire movie on that platform.
Jacob Wysocki (“Ken”): It was, conceptually, very high-minded and ambitious, and I liked the idea of trying to do something like that as an actor. It definitely felt like it was going to be a challenge. We knew we were going to be doing something that’s never been done before… Why not spend time and energy on a thing that we can create, as a group of people, as opposed to the same routine.”
On starting a conversation about cyberbullying:
Jacob Wysocki (“Ken”): Anonymity is what fuels a lot of people’s behavior on the internet, and it’s sort of at the forefront of a tipping point. There’s exposure to it in the media, so why not take an opportunity to comment on it?
Will Peltz (“Adam”): You’re way [more brave] when you’re typing something under an anonymous name and you’re behind a keayboard, whereas if you’re face-to-face with someone… It’s a big problem in our society, and hopefully we can get rid of it.
Jason Blum (producer): I think social media is terrific, and also really terrifying to people. It’s in all of our houses, it’s in our pockets – it’s everywhere, and so it makes people feel vulnerable. People have secrets that they try to erase and get rid of, and this movie taps into that.
Unfriended is currently playing in theaters everywhere.