Found footage. My old nemesis…
The Den follows graduate student(?) Elizabeth as she works to interact with as many people online as possible. Through video chat, she hopes to experience human communication in an unfiltered way. While an interesting subject, I was not entirely sure what she hoped to discover. A bit more information would have been nice for the audience to know what her goals were.
The nice thing about the film is that it gives a reason for the found footage style. Even with a reason, it is a little tiring. Anyway, let’s look at the merits of the film. Studying the effects of human interaction without consequence is interesting, and would have made an interesting film. However, the film abandons this aspect quickly and instead turns into a standard horror film. Instead of just analyzing people on the net, Elizabeth is hacked and stalked by a psychotic group of killers.
What does the film do well? The interactions with random folks on the net provide humor and a sense of realism. Although, I believe there would be more actually penises being shown… Remember, the internet is a barrage of unwanted dicks. Some of the videos are surprisingly funny. The interactions and commentary seem real, and I did appreciate this aspect of the film. Unfortunately, the grander narrative takes over from these, and we aren’t given any analysis from Elizabeth to flesh out what we are seeing.
What does the film do poorly? The actual characters get a little annoying. Everyone Elizabeth interacts with greets her with hostility or indifference. For example, a sex tape is sent to Elizabeth’s boss, and her boss assumes that Elizabeth must have had a mental breakdown—this is seen as more reasonable over Elizabeth being hacked. I despise this trope in horror films. Yeah, that intelligent and logical person you choose to support? They must have just lost their damn mind. People go crazy all the time!
Further aggravating is the complete ineptness of the police in the film. Yeah, looks like a real murder (and now someone is missing) but better just ignore it. Must be fake. Must be a prank. I like to think that my friends would at least hear me out. Not a single person seems to care in this movie. Doing this isolates Elizabeth, but it does so at the cost of irritating the audience.
Maybe I am too old for this type of narrative to scare me. The internet has creeps and there are legitimate dangers to it. However, a film such as this goes too far too fast. While there are interesting threads, it is more so a long slog toward a predictable end than anything new. Be scared of the net! It is full of dangers. 4.5/10