In the 21st century it is hard to come across someone who doesn’t have some sort of social media profile, or someone who hasn’t engaged in activities on the web. We’ve become technology-dependent and have trained the young to know how to take their first selfie before they can utter their first words. This dependency has made uploading your every move online the norm and it has made us susceptible to a variety of dangers. Sharing too much can set yourself up for online attacks, and it can lead to deadly situations in your personal life.
Many of these situations can be avoided if you take precautions and play it safe online. However, in horror films, things would be extremely boring if characters didn’t do stupid things—especially online. Several horror movies have utilized the Internet as a plot device, a recent example being the Blumhouse-produced horror film Unfriended, which takes place entirely on the character’s computer screens. That movie prompted me to think back on other characters in horror movies that center around the web, and realize how stupid most of them are. Many of these characters have put themselves into dire situations online, which is why they have earned a spot on this list. These are characters who should be banned from using the Internet.
Liz Benton from The Den
Usually when someone witnesses a murder they remove themselves from the dangerous situation and let the authorities handle it from there. But for graduate student Liz Benton, nothing will stop her from completing her thesis! In The Den, Liz sees a girl brutally murdered on the online webcam community she is using. Rather than staying off of the site indefinitely, Liz continues using it in the hopes of solving a crime, inevitably putting her life in danger. Her email gets hacked and people in her life mysteriously disappear, but Liz doesn’t care—she is determined to get an A on her final project, even if her life depends on it! Stay the fuck off the Internet, Liz.
Being 15-years-old makes dating so hard! Interacting with other human beings face-to-face is just too much work. So, what’s a horny teen to do? Take to Internet chat rooms to find hot guys, of course. In Strangeland, Genevieve Gage and her friend Tiana just love chatting online with people their age. They’re sure that the person on the other end of the computer screen is exactly who they say they are, so it’s totally cool and not dangerous at all. Until they chat with a guy named Captain Howdy.
Captain Howdy invites them to his place for a party and because Genevieve and Tiana just want to “get it in” (as the kids say), they sneak out to meet up. To their complete surprise, Captain Howdy is actually a middle-aged man with a penchant for pain, piercings, and other unconventional fun. Since meeting Howdy, Genevieve has been more tight-lipped around the fellas. Because her lips were sewn shut.
Mike Reilly and Terry Hutson in Feardotcom
So, if you’ve just discovered that people are dying 48 hours after visiting a mysterious website, you would totally go visit that website, right?! Of course you would! In Feardotcom, also the name of the creepy website people visit before they die, Officer Mike Reilly teams up with health researcher Terry Hutson to solve grisly murders related to the web. Obviously the only possible way to do so is by visiting the website they know is causing people to die. I’m sorry but, wasn’t the case solved the moment it was concluded that the website was killing people? No? I guess that’s why I’m not an officer of the law.
Ashley, Proxy, Binder, Mark and Zane from Smiley
Leave it to kids of the Millennial generation to come up with one of the lamest sayings to conjure up an online killer. Ashley and her friend Proxy (clever!) decided to test out the Internet myth of Smiley by saying “I did it for the lulz” three times in an online chat site with a stranger. To their surprise, it works! The girls witness Smiley as he appears and murders the stranger. Terrified by the tragic encounter, Ashley is set to turn her frown upside down by continuously checking the site searching for Smiley. Then Ashley comes up with the totally sane idea of having Proxy conjure Smiley, making him appear to Ashley so that she can shoot him. Things don’t work in her favor and only get worse when Ashley realizes that it was all a hoax perpetrated by her friends, because like, they were making a statement…or something.
Megan Stewart and Amy Herman in Megan is Missing
When the allegedly 17-year-old guy you’re chatting with online suggests meeting in person behind a diner, you should really think thrice about going. Not only is it a pretty lame first date that might send off the wrong signals about what kind of girl you are, it’s also dangerous. But, 14-year-old girls are stupid—especially Megan Stewart—so she doesn’t hesitate to go meet a stranger she met online. She disappears and her friend Amy becomes determined to find out what happened to her friend. Amy talks to the guy, he threatens her life, and then she lollygags around in a remote area where she can easily be kidnapped by the mysterious dude that is threatening her life. Things could have been avoided if there were some parental controls on their computers, and if the girls actually opened their eyes to the dangers in the world. I guess they don’t teach that in middle school.
Amanda in the Campfire Tales Segment People Can Lick Too
The moral of this story: Parents shouldn’t let their kids use the Internet, especially when they’re going away for the night. Amanda, who is 12, thought she was talking to a girl her age named Jessica. Her naivety led her to divulge too much personal information, which was like an open invitation to a pedophile. She practically handed herself over, wrapped in a bow when she told the stranger her parents would be gone for the night and she’d be alone. Despite feeling uneasy that night, Amanda never expressed her concerns to her older sister or called her parents because she was clearly a big girl who could handle it. But her dog couldn’t handle it and it cost him his life! Silly Amanda.
Josh Ockmann in Pulse
Oh you can hack into computers? Cool. Hack into the university computer system and change my grades, but do not unleash a fucking deadly virus that will destroy the world. Seriously, when did everyone in college become really good at hacking into things? It seems like everyone at Josh Ockmann’s school is awesome at it. They are so good, in fact, that one of them gets ahold of some powerful frequencies to that lead to another world (what does that even mean?) and endangers the lives of everyone. Obviously this mysterious virus ruins the whole world because Josh had something to prove to himself and he just had to hack into it. If only he would have spent his time getting drunk and screwing like the other people his age, this all could have been avoided. The more you know.