Director: Sarah Smick
Screenplay: Sarah Smick, Ian Michaels
Producers: Sarah Smick, Ian Michaels, Peter Smick
Starring: Ryan Hansen, James Immekus, Zach McGowan, Sarah Smick, Ian Michaels
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 94 min.
While the internet has become a popular way for people to connect and meet casual hook-ups and potential life partners, for others it has replaced real life interaction. Some no longer feel the need to leave their houses or call their friends. What’s the point when you can update your Facebook wall and instantly spam your 400 “friends” of which you may only really know 10? Writers Ian Michaels and Sarah Smick imagined one such character for Friended to Death.
Ryan Hansen (of Veronica Mars fame) stars as Michael, a very charming, very handsome and apparently very social individual who works as a Parking Enforcement Officer. He’s really good at his job and he’s also really good at his hobby: updating Facebook a dozen times a day. As good as he is at his job, Michael and fellow co-worker Emile (James Immekus) are let go on the same day. The two have little in common but after a fallout with an old friend, Michael brings in Emile as a conspirator for his plan to test his “friendships.” Michael decides to fake his death to see what sort of response he can raise from his Facebook family and with the help of Emile, the idea goes from an overnight stunt to something which takes up not only all of Michael’s time and energy but also Emile’s – not to mention it gets the pair into a whole lot of hot water.
It’s a ridiculous sounding premise but not nearly as far fetched as it initially sounds. Most of us with Facebook, Twitter or any sort of social media presence likely follows or has followers we’ve never met. We often share information as stream of consciousness: stuff we’re thinking about, stuff we find. Some of it spawns interaction and some of it doesn’t. For most, that mostly-one-way stream of information is perfectly acceptable but for others, social networking is their connection to other people and they need to know that their posts are being seen by their so-called-friends. Michael is one of those guys and he becomes obsessed when he notices that his fake death post is engaging others, and so the stunt gets progressively more obscene including the faking of a crime scene, a death certificate and a wake. All of this to see if Michael’s real-life friend Joel (“Black Sails”’s Zach McGowan) will show up to the wake; a real friend who Michael has essentially ignored to focus instead on his Facebook cronies.