Communications Essays on Communication in Unfriended


Horror films is described as one of cinema’s basic genres that emerge early in the history of the medium. Horror movies popular appeal has proven durable amidst the rapid and evolving technology, economic, and social changes. Like other genre movies, any given horror film serves to convey synchronic associations, ideological, and social messages that are part of a certain period or historical moment. One of the most notable and widely recognized horror films released in the year 2014 is the Unfriended. Unfriended is an American Hollywood horror film based on the fatal effects of cyber bullying. The movie entails a lot of peculiar instances where the characters would spend a long time staring at the spinning circle of a loading video while other characters got terrified by a ghost would send them messages to haunt them. The movie describes today’s discordant communication and effects caused by over obsession with social media sites as the main communication platform.

Communication as a transaction

Communication is described as a transaction between two or more people who exchange thoughts, ideas, feelings, information, knowledge, and opinions. This transactional process entails exchange of symbols that may either be verbal, non-verbal, or graphic. The transactional model views communication as a cooperative process in which the sender and the receiver are both responsible for the effectiveness of communication. Messages are mostly built upon each other as people negotiate shared meaning. In addition, transactional model of communication takes into account social aspects that entail culture, beliefs, heredity, and personal experience. When the sender and receiver share similar culture, beliefs, experiences, or heredity, then they are bound to have deeper and more personal communication. However, with the advent of a myriad of technologies, transactional model of communication is slowly fading away to become a habit of the past. This has been clearly portrayed in the movie Unfriended which keenly focuses on teenagers who utilize social media as their primary platform for communication.  The characters have most of their conversations as video chats and text messages. The online communications between the friends escalate into a dreadful scenario after they receive scary messages from an anonymous person who perceives him/herself as a ghost. This anonymous person utilizes the information gained from accessing the teenagers’ conversations amongst each other. Certainly, this type of communication is not transactional as the teenagers never got to know whether they share common social traits and personalities. The online platform provides them an avenue to share irrelevant and explicit information which the anonymous ghost used as a weapon to cyber bully them.

Critical approach self-disclosure parole

Self-disclosure is described as an important form of interpersonal communication that is prominently used by social psychologists, clinical, and counseling psychologists.  Self-disclosure is described as the process of revealing personal information about oneself to another. The eventual success of any self-disclosure communication mainly depends on the empathic bonds that permit a victim to reveal the most innermost, personal information to another person. Thus, trust is one of the most important factors that drive good interpersonal communication. From the film, Unfriended, one character named Laura is said to have committed suicide after a video of her in an embarrassing, drunken stupor was spread in online social media sites. Laura, who became distressed and psychologically disturbed following the emergence of the unfortunate video, failed to seek help from her family and professional psychologist. From the movie, it is clear that Laura had no one whom she could communicate to about her inner feelings, thoughts, and pain with regards to the stigmatization that she was receiving after the her video was spread online. Since Laura failed to engage in the process of self-disclosure, she quietly suffered in pain through psychological torture. Eventually, she could not hold it any longer as she chose to end her pain when she committed suicide. This tragic scenario brings out the importance and need for people to adopt self-disclosure as a step to seeking psychological help and recovery.


Kinesics plausibility

Kinesics behavior is composed of bodily movements and motor expressions that include; gestures, facial expression, eye behavior, gesture, posture, and other non-verbal practices. Kinesics is said to be a product of social learning as one person communicates to another using non-verbal cues. Kinesics communication usually contributes to consolidation of interactive relation between people with mutual understanding.  From the movie Unfriended, it was difficult for the characters to differentiate the information shared as being true or false. This is because the victims failed to have face to face type of communication that would have enabled them to use kinesics kind of communication.  Both the sender and recipient were unable to recognize each other’s emotional state through vocal and kinesics communication. It is for this profound reason that the victims failed to realize that the anonymous victim had just impersonated herself as Laura with the intent of terrorizing them through cyber bullying. Criminals of cyber bullying are thereby known to take advantage of lack of kinesics communication through online platforms to deceive and bully their victims.

Synchronous communication

Synchronous communication is defined as the continuous and consistent timed transfer of data blocks. The parties involved communicate with each other at the same time while awaiting response from each other. This is a real-time type of communication that entails a two-way, give and take conversation. An example of synchronous communication is the online chat session between a customer care service personnel and a client. This type of communication was showcased in the movie during video chat sessions when the teenagers would see and communicate to each other real-time. Video chatting served as an alternative of face to face communication as messages were conveyed and received in synchrony.

Asynchronous communication

Asynchronous communication differs from synchronous communication as there is no real-time conversation between the parties. An example of asynchronous communication is the use of email where the recipient is neither waiting nor expecting any incoming message from a sender. In this case, there is no synchrony between the sender and the receiver. In most cases, both the sender and receiver may be unknown to each other. There may also occur a delay in response to a message as communication is primarily dependent on the period when the receiver views the message. From the movie, some of the teenagers were distressed when either of the party failed to respond promptly to a sent message. Many perceived various factors that might have led to the delay.

Media equation

With the tremendous development and evolution of communication gadgets and devices, most people are today addicted to using such devices as an avenue for communication. Real social and face to face interactions are today barred by the trending use of social media, emails, among many other online platforms. This type of communication where computers and mobile phones are replacing the traditional face to face communication is regarded as media equation. From the movie Unfriended, the victims tend to interact with each other by communicating through text messages and video chats. The absence of face to face communication limits their ability to get to socialize and know each other’s personalities and real intents. This alternative form of communication later on became a source of worry after an anonymous person impersonated as ghost gets hold of the chats and videos sent among the teenagers to terrorize and harm the young teenagers.

Parasocial relationships

Parasocial relationships are one-sided, non-reciprocal relationships where one invests his or her emotional energy, time, and effort to reach a person who is uninterested or even unaware of their effort. This scenario is mostly witnessed by celebrities who are unaware of the efforts of individual speculators who are either inspired or obsessed with their work. The movie Unfriended showcases this kind of communication between the teenagers who remain unaware of each other’s feelings, emotional struggles, and personal experiences.


Even though this film falls under the genre of horror films, the creator of Unfriended showcased the dangers associated with the overuse of online mode of communication. Unfriended deeply explores the dangerous effects of cyber bullying and extreme use of social media sites. The movie primarily utilizes an online platform to depict the tragic events encountered by the movie’s main characters. In conclusion, it is clear that social media pose a serious threat to one’s emotional, mental, and physical status caused by the unprecedented cases of cyber bullying and online insecurities. It is for this profound reason that people ought to largely embrace the face-to-face to develop robust interpersonal and social relations.