Horror Review: The Den (2013)

The DenA young woman studying the habits of webcam chat users from the apparent safety of her apartment witnesses a brutal murder online and is quickly immersed in a nightmare in which she and her loved ones are targeted for the same grisly fate as the first victim.

Director: Zachary Donohue
Writers: Zachary Donohue, Lauren Thompson
Stars: Melanie Papalia, David Schlachtenhaufen, Matt Riedy
Running Time: 81 min.

“The Den,” Zachary Donohue’s debut feature-length release starring the absolutely gorgeous Melanie Papalia, whom we know from “Smiley,” is a horror/thriller film starting to gain a little bit of steam lately. Found footage films are hardly groundbreaking anymore, but rather the complete opposite in that they are run of the mill and overused. It takes something a little more special for a found footage film to be noticed these days.

“The Den” does a nice job with trying to use the webcam aspect such as we have seen with “Megan is Missing,” “Smiley” and even “Paranormal Activity 4.” I was not a fan of the PA4 and found “Smiley” to be rather amateurish in spots. “Megan is Missing” is a well done movie with a lot behind it.

Where “The Den” succeeds starts and ends with Melanie Papalia. She is absolutely beautiful, which always makes watching her on screen much easier, but whether she is playing a playful role or a terror-filled role, she is spot-on and believable.

As with home invasion films, stories rooted in reality are that much more frightening than some supernatural force haunting your dreams. The reality of the Internet is here. It has been here for decades. As technology improves and bandwidth and hard drive becomes cheaper, video chat becomes more and more the norm. I am sure that there are circles of friends that will video chat to tell each other that they want to bring beer over as seen in “The Den.” We are entirely there yet, but are not far off. For forward-thinking people at the cusp of technology, this is a reality and someone stalking you via a video chat can easily be a reality. We all know that no one is invisible on the Web.

If you are looking for a fun film that may end up scary the pants off of you, then “The Den” is for you. It is easily worth a watch. I had a good time with it.