Movie Review – The Den (2013)

The Den (2013) is the directorial debut of Zachary Donohue. It is a found footage slasher that exploits web-paranoia to an admirably effective degree.  Told entirely through web-feeds, computer and phone screens, and security cameras, the story follows a researcher whose grant involves continuous activity through a chat-roulette-like site called, as the title would suggest, The Den. She becomes witness to a murder and is soon being stalked by a killer who uses technology to target her unsuspecting friends and quickly destroy her life.

The Den moves swiftly and provides an inventive premise for a found-footage film – one that would be imitated the following year by 2014’s Unfriended – though aspects of it become increasingly absurd, especially towards the end. I’m admittedly not a technophile and my knowledge of computers is limited, but even I could gather that it’s best not to think too much about the technology on display and how it’s presented. For every effective scare there is one that strains believability. For instance, the killer lures a woman away from her home and plays a lame trick on her only to dump her body back where she started – wouldn’t it have been a better use of time and resources to just kill her in her house?

It leans heavily upon its gimmick, but for the most part that’s enough to see it through. Regardless of its shortcomings, The Den is an entertaining experience that has an energetic, suspenseful finale and will make you think twice before clicking on an unsuspecting link – in case you needed reminding, that is.

Grade: C

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