Review: The Den (2013)

the den poster

Elizabeth Benton (Melanie Papalia) is a young student who has devised a study for her graduate thesis in social media studies: she will study the activities of random people online. She is given a grant to do her work, and uses a program called “The Den”, which is a random webcam based chat program that randomly pairs two people together to chat. Elizabeth goes into lockdown, even letting her relationship with Damien (David Schlachtenhaufendwindle, and the only time she sees/chats with him is online. A specific user keeps popping up by her, though there is no working webcam. The results that she is getting back on her study are just a little bit disappointing.

However, soon things change when it appears that someone has hacked Elizabeth’s machine, and starts to do some funny things. They record intimate moments of her and mail it out to the people that gave her the grant for her study, for instance. She is blissfully unaware of this, and continues with her little project. Just when she is starting to give up, she stumbles across a video from the user that keeps popping up on her feed, and this time there is a video feed: Elizabeth witnesses while a young girl is butchered. Completely freaked out, she contacts the police (cyber department), who tell her that while it looks real, there is nothing that they can really do. This not being a good enough answer for Elizabeth, she employs the help of her friend in IT, Max (Adam Shapiro), to look into whether or not the video was real or a hoax.

the den cameras

Damien, on the other hand, feels that Elizabeth may have been pranked, and is getting very edgy about no longer seeing her and always having to contact her through The Den if he wants to talk to her. While arguing on the phone, she turns over, and misses the fact that he did not disconnect the video chat because they were fighting, but because somebody with a burlap sack was waiting for him in his car. What ensues is Elizabeth getting obsessed with the murdered girl, obsessed with contacting Damien again, though she is unsuccessful, burning bridges with her friends due to all her crazy obsessions, and soon whoever took Damien starts playing with her, chatting with her friends, sending her funny video clips, the works. Elizabeth is freaked out. Someone has become fixated on her and yet she has no idea who it is. Things are rapidly getting more extreme.

the den scared

Who took Damien? Will she ever get him back? Who is playing with her head? What about her made someone obsess over her, to want to psychologically torture her? Why has she been targeted? Will Elizabeth be able to get to the bottom of whatever is going on?

GRADE 6This I watched at the behest of Eric, who was pretty impressed with it, something that does not happen (especially with found footage films) too often. Needless to say, I decided that I would like to watch it. The Den is proof that found footage film can still work. We have been inundated with a load of terrible ones, but this one was not so bad. Sure, the logic was a bit sketchy at times, but we have established that taking a horror type film (though this definitely had more thriller aspects to it) too seriously will cripple the experience. Nevertheless, the acting was not completely fantastic or anything like that, but it worked. The Burlap Sackians (as I have come to call them) were rather creepy, I mean what was that even all about at the end of it all? Also, the film was just the right length, which was not very long at all. It was 81 minutes, and that was just enough to hold your interest, but not stretch it. I know it talks about things we are all familiar with, like the internet, the anonymity of it and all that, and there isn’t really anything new here, no specifically grand scares or anything like that, but it really wasn’t the worst thing ever. I liked it for what it was, and thought it was decent. But again I reiterate, do not go in expecting mindlblowing acting skills though, you will be sorely disappointed. Overall, not the worst time you can spend watching a movie, it was definitely alright, and a much better entry to the found footage genre than we have become used to recently.

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38 thoughts on “Review: The Den (2013)

  1. theipc says:

    Dearest JB,

    I guess I liked this a little bit more than you but I do watch some utter bullshit so that’s my defense 🙂 Nice work!!

    LOVE,

    Sinner

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Dearest Sinner Spock Chop,

      Didn’t you also give it three top hats? I can’t remember… and I can’t open it here. BWAHAHAHA. I cannot argue that defence in the slightest.

      Love,

      Sinner SB

      Like

      • theipc says:

        Sinner,

        I actually gave it a four – I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it 🙂

        Love,

        SSC

        Like

  2. Ryan says:

    Nice review, Zoe. I just can’t find myself watching that many found-footage flicks. It has to look really good for me to take the dive these days. This one just didn’t do much for me.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Thanks Ryan! Totally with you there. I’ve seen too many over the last few weeks. This one was better than I expected but still very basic.

      Did you enjoy The Tunnel or Lake Mungo (if you saw them)?

      Like

      • Ryan says:

        Haven’t seen them, but I have had Lake Mungo recommended to me a few times! [REC] is one of my favorite FF flicks. They got it right with that one.

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    • Zoë says:

      Thanks Chris. Yeah, the concept is alright, the implementation is alright too. Not worth hunting down, per se, but worth the watch should you come across it.

      Like

  3. simondaniel27 says:

    I have seen this movie a while ago, and I thought the acting felt… not realistic. But somehow real. Life is not made by a script and that’s how it felt to me. I was quite shocked about the ending, because it wasn’t quite an open ending like the usual found footage movies. I had so many mixed feelings about it, that I actually didn’t know how to review it. But I totally agree with you, so needless, to say, there can’t be a better review out than this! 😀 Great job

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      🙂 Thanks Simon! I must say I liked the ending, none of that open ended stuff as you say, which was a nice change. I get what you are saying about the review of it, took me a while to decide on how to go about it!

      Like

  4. simondaniel27 says:

    Reblogged this on Simon Says… WATCH THIS! and commented:
    I have seen this movie a while ago, and I thought the acting felt… not realistic. But somehow real. Life is not made by a script and that’s how it felt to me. I was quite shocked about the ending, because it wasn’t quite an open ending like the usual found footage movies. I had so many mixed feelings about it, that I actually didn’t know how to review it.
    This review here describes it the best, which is why I am going to share it with my followers. Many thanks to Zoe (sorry can’t do the two dots above the e) Great job! Check out her blog at https://zuts.wordpress.com

    Like

  5. Tom says:

    Sounds interesting, may give this a second if I can find it online sometime. I am not the hugest fan of the found-footage approach, as you keenly point out it’s mostly done wrong! lol. But this trailer at least is really intense and your review is positive enough to get me interested. 😀

    Like

  6. Victor De Leon says:

    Oh wow, this one slipped right by me! Thanks for the head’s up on this. I have been a bit down on FF films of late but “Willow Creek” and “Afflicted” were pretty cool. Nice job!

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Thank you. Sheesh, I have been watching so many FF films recently that I just don’t want to think of another at the moment! Let me know what you think about it. Haven’t seen either of the two you mentioned.

      Like

  7. caragale says:

    I’ve heard this one mentioned here and there, but I hadn’t gotten around to reading details about it. Good to know what exactly it is! Lol. Sounds decent enough. I may try to fit it in as October approaches. You’ve sure been on a scary movie kick lately, huh? Lol. Nice job! 🙂

    Like

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