|Title||The Friendship Game|
|Release Date||November 11, 2022|
|Actors||Kaitlyn Santa Juana, Peyton List, Kelcey Mawema, Brendan Meyer|
|Rating||1 out of 5|
The Friendship Game (2022) Movie Review: A Failed Attempt at Alternate Reality Teen Horror
Storyline (with Spoilers)
Four teenage friends from a small town find a friendship game at a garage sale. To play the game, you place your fingers on this Hellraiser style puzzle orb and tell it your innermost desires. You must tell the truth. If your friendships survive, so will you.
Naturally, they decide to pick up this mysterious game and give it a shot.
As the game unfolds, it’s split into acts, each centered around one of our teenage buddies.
Cotton Allen (played by Kaitlyn Santa Juana) dreams of breaking free from the cookie cutter life path of college, marriage, kids, and work. She vanishes after a party and keeps reappearing, but always through a mirror, seeming like she’s stuck in an alternate reality.
Zooza (played by Peyton List) wishes she could care less about her friends once they head off to college. Honestly, this one’s a head scratcher. 🤔
Then there’s Courtney (Kelcey Mawema), who’s dead set on getting into her dream college, even though her academic record doesn’t scream “straight-A student.” Somehow, she manages to pull it off.
Lastly, we have Rob Plattier (Brendan Meyer), who just wants to be good at s-e-x. Yep, you read that right! He tries to test his newfound skills on all three of his best friends, which is definitely not the way to keep a friendship intact.
Meanwhile, there’s a young boy hacking into webcams and phones, spying on these four pals. He has a library full of watching these 4 friends, including when they play the game. He seems to have some sort of connection with the game, as he gets glitchy at the end and Cotton (the one who disappeared) seems to look directly at him through the cam. This was giving me computer virus glitch vibes. But who knows?
To be perfectly honest, things get pretty convoluted towards the end, and I’m not entirely sure what’s happening either. All the friends try to kill Cotton. Than Zooza declares she will be friends with her no matter what. And Boom. Everyone’s alive and well, back at the garage sale, like nothing ever happened.
Whew. I got through that plotline summary somehow. But, yeah, im sure you are as confused as me!
Characters / Acting
Unfortunately, all the characters are bland and underdeveloped. We barely get any backstory, which makes it tough to connect with any of them on an emotional level. The only glimpse of character development we get is when they spill their desires to the orb, and let’s just say those wishes are pretty shallow and silly.
As for the teen actors, they did their best with the lackluster script they were handed. While nothing particularly stands out, they do manage to keep the film from being a total snooze fest, so that’s something to applaud them for.
It feels like something a 13-year-old aspiring writer might come up with. A story full of nonsensical drivel that doesn’t really draw you in. I’m not entirely sure if the movie was aiming for an alternate reality plot or if it’s supernatural or just a computer-generated AI mess with all the glitching going on. Maybe even the writers themselves aren’t entirely sure.
And the constant jumping back and forth between friends and different realities only adds to the confusion. It’s all a bit of a mess, really.
Oh boy, the last half-hour is a real head spinner. It’s all over the place, with one of the teens meeting an unfortunate fate at the hands of multiple friends. But then, out of nowhere, one friend declares that they’ll be friends no matter what, and presto, all four pals are back at the garage sale where they found the friendship game. It’s a bizarre conclusion that leaves you wondering what just happened. Very unsatisfying.
So there you have it. A movie that’s completely confusing, with characters that could use some more depth, and a script that’s, well, a bit of a mess. But hey, at least the young actors manage to salvage it from being a complete dud. Grab some popcorn and give it a watch if you’re up for trying to figure out this mystery plot! Let me know if you have it all figured out in the comments! 🎬🍿