By John Mulderig
NEW YORK (CNS) — Lots of blood and little sense characterize the second-rate horror flick “Friend Request” (Entertainment Studios).
Though director and co-writer Simon Verhoeven’s routine creeper includes a few genuinely jumpy moments, it fails to establish any grounding in logic. The film also becomes ever gorier as it unspools.
In a bid to frighten Facebook users, the plot has popular psych major Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) briefly befriend isolated fellow student Marina (Liesl Ahlers) both online and in person. When odd duck Marina behaves too strangely and gets too clingy, though, Laura dumps her — only to be shaken to learn, shortly afterward, that Marina has killed herself.
End of story? Well, not quite.
Death, it turns out, fails to stop occult-loving Marina. Wreaking revenge from beyond the grave, she targets her erstwhile buddy’s circle of closest pals, including BFF Olivia (Brit Morgan), tech guru Kobe (Connor Paolo), party boy Gustavo (Sean Marquette) and hefty, good-hearted Isabel (Brooke Markham).
Marina also manages to endanger Tyler (William Moseley), the aspiring coroner with whom Laura sometimes cohabits. (If that sounds like a somewhat random career for Verhoeven and his screenplay partners Matthew Ballen and Philip Koch to assign to the young man, bear in mind that having a character with easy access to the morgue can come in handy in this type of movie.)
As her besties drop like flies, Laura also has to grapple with the fact that Marina has taken control of her Facebook account — and the folks at Facebook are powerless to help! What are the stabbings, gunshots and defenestration Laura’s unfortunate confidants are facing compared to the horror of that?
The film contains excessive bloody violence, a suicide theme, a premarital situation, some gruesome images, several uses of profanity, occasional rough language and a few crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.