Directed by Zachary Donohue, The Den is a modern found footage horror set online.
Young woman Elizabeth Benton (Melanie Papali- Smiley), earns a grant to study social interactions on an instant chat-roulette webcam site called The Den. On a mission to chat with anyone and everyone she can, Elizabeth wishes to explore the habits of its users and spends 24/7 logged onto the site.
Among the many seeking cheap thrills, fraudulent info or to be ogled while touching themselves, Elizabeth is greeted by a user represented only by a smiling still photo of a pretty young woman. This user comes up more than once over the first few days of her experiment and it’s soon clear something is amiss.
During a chat with said user, Elizabeth watches in horror as she is live-linked to a teenage girl being gruesomely murdered in front of her web-cam. While the police dismiss it as a viral prank, Elizabeth believes what she saw is real and takes it upon herself to find the truth.
After her boyfriend goes missing, she loses her grant and her hard drive gets wiped, Elizabeth finds herself in a murderous cat and mouse game online.
The biggest strength of this movie is its absolute commitment to the style; with some minor exceptions, The Den is completely shot as though you’re looking at a computer screen. You see the main character’s webcam as if you were video-chatting with her. If you have a Mac and watch it online, you might even confuse it with your own computer screen.
Its execution is impressive and it’s a very entertaining film with plenty of disturbing and unforgettable scenes. It’s modern and fresh, and the characters are likable with the main protagonist doing a remarkable job.
The Den never forgets to remind us that it takes place largely on the Internet; a world wide web that will always be there with its random penis videos, bullies, weirdos and people pretending to be others.
Turn the lights off, get comfortable and watch this movie on your laptop or computer. I think it’s a little gem that many horror lovers or those fond of webcam chats will enjoy.
WICKED RATING: 6.5/10 [usr 6.5]
Title: The Den
Director(s): Zachary Donohue
Writer(s): Zachary Donohue, Lauren Thompson
Stars: Melanie Papalia, David Schlachtenhaufen, Matt Riedy
Studio/ Production Co: Cliffbrook Films, Onset Films