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It reminds me of Lucky Bastard, a seldom-seen, found footage horror film about a man who wins a date and complementary sex with a porn star for a website, showing the impact and far- reaching abilities of smut in a way that was equal parts shaming the audience but devilishly compelling all the more.For some reason, horror films set online get a bum rap, with Lucky Bastard and even the other commendable cyber-thriller Untraceable receiving numerous amounts of unwarranted hate.It reminds me of Joe Swanberg's short film in the horror-anthology V/H/S, but taken to more sadistic and frightening levels.
Writers Donohue and Lauren Thompson take time to tag the bases of all the odd people that often make up these Chat Roulette kind of websites, cycling through the people in a way that doesn't feel oversimplifying nor gratuitous.
The film concerns a grad student named Elizabeth (Melanie Papalia), who is monitoring the habits of webcam users on a website by the name of "The Den." She spends most of her days cycling through nudity, vulgar kids, horny souls, foreigners determined to scam the naive, rude people, pranks, annoying memes, and the socially awkward.
It's almost like sitting at a virtual bus- stop.
The internet houses many things that can easily shock and provoke and that's precisely what The Den attempts to do and, mostly, succeeds.
It creates a technological environment, an inherently neutral environment in terms of mood, and creates it into a frighteningly unpredictable medium that lends itself to the horror genre.