Years ago, director Simon Verhoeven’s father Michael Verhoeven picked up an Oscar nomination for a film called The Nasty Girl. Following his dad’s example, Verhoeven Jnr’s Friend Request is about a very nasty girl indeed - a college student called Marina (Liesl Ahlers) who wreaks murderous havoc from beyond the grave on the lives of all those preppy, popular types who spurned her on social media and wouldn’t sit next to her at lunch.
A movie that yields line like “unfriend this dead bitch” has a certain camp appeal but this is an unpleasant and manipulative affair that makes increasingly grim viewing. Laptops are “dark mirrors” in which the characters see incredibly gruesome footage of students seemingly committing suicide. It is hard to work out whether this is intended as a satire on internet addiction disorder” or a Grand Guignol horror movie - but it is equally unsatisfactory as both.
Simon Verhoeven, 92 mins, starring: Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan
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