An excerpt from Reals’ script review for Unfriended 2014 which will be available 06/12/22:
Filling in for Hank this week (and posting a little early as a treat for all you readers!) and we’ve got a really interesting one that I’m psyched to talk about: Unfriended!
Not only is this a horror script, but it is one that utilizes the Screenlife platform to tell its story.
For those of you wondering what Screenlife is, Screenlife is director Timur Bekmambetov‘s pet project and is a form of filmmaking in which the story takes place entirely on a screen – like a computer, television screen, phone, etc.
This is not exactly found footage, but has become its own sub-genre.
Some examples of films that use the Screenlife platform / program are listed below:
— Searching (2018)
— Unfriended (2014)
— Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)
— Megan is Missing (2011)
— E-Demon (2018)
— Profile (2018)
–- Host (2020)
–- Spree (2020)
— The Den (2013)
There are some films, like the recent horror film Dashcam (2022) which merge conventional filmmaking with the Screenlife program, but I am not counting those for sake of clarity and brevity.
The reason I am so interested in this style of filmmaking is that a Screenlife project can be made for relatively little cost, but can still bring in the big bucks.
If you need further proof of this, consider that Blumhouse, the go-to horror company for low-budget / high concept productions, was a producer on Unfriended and the inferior sequel, Unfriended: Dark Web.
And, as you can see from Box Office Mojo, the first Unfriended was made on a budget of just $1 million dollars, and went on to gross nearly $63 million worldwide.
Assuming marketing costs were equal to the budget, that makes this a $2 million dollar film to produce and advertise. Then, the film went on to earn around 31.5 times its marketing and production budget. That is the kind of success that will have executives lining up at your doorstep screaming:
Now, writing a story that utilizes the Screenlife formula will be a challenge and is something that you will have to adjust to, however, it is worth exploring as you brainstorm your next blockbuster!
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