The Den (2013)

the den

I’m going to go out on a limb and say this movie was made by someone that has an unhealthy contempt for technology. Why do I say that? Because anyone with half a brain can debunk every plot-point. We start with a whiny graduate student who is doing her thesis on the poor man’s Chatroulette/Skype hybrid. Why anyone would willing sift through hours of random penises is beyond me, but that’s not the point. We quickly discover that the internet is nothing but lonely people with way too much time on their hands. We have our own version of Meat Spin (DO NOT GOOGLE THAT), jump scares that have a better budget than the whole movie, a random British couple, and sick bastards that think faking a suicide is funny. I have no choice but to go into detail because that’s all that happens for the first 30-45 minutes.

You may have noticed I’ve said nothing about our “heroine” Liz (Melanie Papalia). As much as I want to give the actress credit, I just can’t. For example, when she witnesses the death that starts the chain of events that lead to her being tormented, she has this expression:

diabolique-the-den-2013-feat

I don’t know about you, but if I ever see someone get turned into a human Pez dispenser on Skype, I’d probably scream and fall out of my chair. But…this is all she could muster after seeing a very real murder. She also has this weird dynamic between her “boyfriend” Damien (David Schlachtenhaufen), and a guy who has reached the 7th circle of the friend zone named Max (Adam Shapiro). This is one of those movies where everyone is just horrible, but there’s no reason for it. You don’t even want anyone to die. You just want it to end.

As soon as I started praying for this to just stop, I got my wish. As it turns out, it’s some real-life version of 4-Chan that gets paid to torture unsuspecting Den users. Once they’re completely broken and forever scarred, they’re killed. We then cut to a man who is paying to watch this and had other videos lined up, only to be interrupted by his young son. The end. Credits roll. Did this seem short? Too bad, because I just described how things played out in the movie, and in half the time. So what can we learn from all of this? Beware of Skype? The internet is filled with snuff film lovers? Make your thesis about something people actually give a crap about? I have no idea. This gets a 1/5. Some of the effects are interesting, but it’s so clunky that you just give up on it as it progresses. Couple that with bad actors, no real development, and a severe lack of understanding about the internet, and you have the reasons why its Netflix rating dropped to 2 stars in the course of an hour.

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