Movie Reviews

Published on May 15th, 2014 | by Ed Sum


Friended to Death

Actress turned filmmaker Sarah Smick might well be the next Nicole Sullivan should fortune smile upon her. Not many people will have seen her debut film, Old Souls, but if Friended to Death is any indication, she shows that she has the chops to create satire. Although her second film is not entirely perfect, it shows that she does have a lot to say in a screenplay that examines friendship in the real life sense.

Ryan Hansen (Zach McGowan, Veronica Mars) is a terrific actor, and he plays the perfect narcissistic jerk. As Michael Harris, he’s unsympathetic to everyone he knows, including his new mate Emil (Zach McGowan, Shameless) whom he treats poorly.

Harris is more obsessive with telling his Facebook friends what is going on in his day-to-day life. But when he gets fired from his job as a traffic cop, just what does he do next? He definitely does not go crying to his mom about it. Instead, he hatches a plot to fake his death (with the help of Emil) and look online to see who will miss him.

No one. This movie is not about saying how terrible and unsympathetic people are. Instead, it reveals that one can not treat social media as the end all be all of how relationships are defined. The screenplay is well thought out to show a hyperbole of extremes. Harris is more obsessed with what is said online than in person. At the same time, Harris does not realize that Emil is helping him despite his many reservations. He does not realize that he does have a friend who is doing his best to pull that stick out of Harris’ ass, but the further in it goes, more problems arises.

However, social media has its uses. It has a purpose in the world of business, but in society, that’s another question. When Harris uses it as his lifeblood and measure of his worth, maybe what he needs is a reality check (with perhaps a sociologist/psychologist to treat him).

The underlying themes of what this film examines is great, but sadly the execution is hit and miss. Unless viewers can actually care for the protagonist, the reason to continue watching will depend on either wanting to see how Harris’ life will pan out or wondering who the comely women in red (Sarah Smick) is involved in this plot. As Sylvie, this woman has a beef to settle with Harris, and to watch how that pans out is almost as nutty as watching an episode of MadTV. This subplot actually carries this movie a lot more, and it has all the meat to make watching this movie all the more interesting.

3 out of 5

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