Friend Request

The bottom of the compost pile when it comes to horror subgenres, is undoubtedly social media horrors.

And Friend Request is no different, a rotten stinker predicated on a bullied spectral spookie who hijacks Facebook pages with gross content and torments her assailants.

But I Know What You Did This Summer this is not as the connection between the revenge seeker and the victims is barely there.

Laura is an uber-popular coed at a made-up California College populated by central casting types who chronicle their lavish lifestyles in Malibu, or some such place. Laura’s got 800 friends, 800 more than goth cliche loner, Marina, who sits in the back of psych class and pulls her hair out (maybe frustrated by the lack of quality slasher films tackling social media). To her credit, Laura reaches out to the outcast, only to be cyber-stalked and abused for her troubles.

Marina begins sending disturbing content to Laura’s friends, and posting snuff material as Laura (including a self-immolation vid), getting her expelled and making her the college pariah. Laura enlists the help of a hacker friend, who finds that the backend code is some witchcraft mumbo jumbo.

Meanwhile, turns out there’s little record of Marina even attending the school (maybe Felicity Huffman was lending a helping hand).

While the horror genre reflects cultural anxieties and has done so with aplomb in the past, whether it’s creeping conformity/communism in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or rampant consumerism of Dawn of the Dead,  however to date, no legit offering has adequately dealt with how social media is warping our minds, disrupting our concentration and making us depressed.

Whether it’s #horror, iMurders, Unfriended, or the best among them, Cam (which is a compliment so back-handed it should be used to slap a bitch) none can get out of their own way to tackle broader social implications of Pavlovian manipulation.

** (out of 5)

[Check out our Friend Request podcast!]

Kirk Hammett collection at the ROM

If you didn’t think your love of horror could be amplified, Kirk Hammett’s collection at the Royal Ontario Museum will dial it up to 11.

The Metallica guitarist flew in from Moscow (and boy, were his arms tired… probably needs a rest before ripping out two-handed tapping solos) and was in Toronto for a sold out discussion about It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art From The Kirk Hammett Collection

In a talk moderated by exhibit co-creator Dan Finamore, a curator at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, Hammett admitted that he misses his collection, generating knowing chuckles from his fellow traveller nerds. And miss ’em, he should. This exhibit warrants another visit, as the authors of this site already miss ’em. This is essential viewing for horror sci-fi heads, and one need look no further than below.

This exhibition explores Hammett’s significant collection and “examines the connection between artistry, emotion, and popular culture through a selection of works from 20th-century cinema,” according to the site.

Favorites include a mind-blowing Swedish art deco poster for Metropolis, and Boris Karloff’s Mummy (above).

There’s a sensational  promotional piece for Invasion of the Saucer Men, that is literally out of this world. And perhaps the showstopper is a couple of gorgeous Bride of Frankenstein pieces.

The Hammett collection runs until Jan. 5, 2020. Check out our Really Awful Movies Podcast Kirk Hammett episode!