Facebook is used as a tool for the dead in this lame thriller; frankly, ‘The Social Network’ was scarier

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What with all the fake news, your crazy uncle’s unwanted political grandstanding and the shirtless selfies that guy you went to high school with keeps posting, Facebook is scary enough on its own. But what if it was used as a tool of — cue shrieking sound cue — THE DEAD?

That’s the idea, if you’re being generous with the term “idea,” behind “Friend Request,” the lame supernatural thriller that adds a social networking twist to an otherwise conventional horror tale.

Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is a popular college student, Marina (Liesl Ahlers) is the social outcast who wants to be her. Marina, friendless on the ’Book, sends Laura a friend request, which Laura accepts. Marina takes this as a vow of undying friendship rather than a throwaway click, and begins stalking Laura in real life and online. When things get a little too intense, Laura unfriends her, leading Marina to commit suicide.

Except that’s not it for Marina. From the grave, she haunts Laura and her friends, posting on their pages and causing them real-world harm. But what did Laura and her friends do that was so wrong? You want horror stories to lay out some sort of tangible morality play, but there’s no grounds for Laura and her friends to meet their grisly ends. Their sin is that they use Facebook. (Exclusively, apparently — have these kids never heard of Snapchat or Instagram?)

While flawed itself, the 2014 thriller “Unfriended” was far more savvy about social networking and the way teens interact with technology. “Friend Request” is less insightful than a tossed off status update. Request denied.

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

@grahamorama

‘Friend Request’

GRADE: D

Rated R for horror violence, disturbing images, and language

Running time: 92 minutes

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