The Den (2013)

theden01This movie was a complete surprise.

The only thing I knew about it was that I saw a 2-star review at another site this morning (which I did not read).  It was already in my NetFlix queue, though, so I gave it a chance — and it’s pretty great!  I get that out of the way up front, because there are some caveats.

Caveat # 1:  A couple of times it crossed the line for me into Megan is Missing territory where it became a little too real to be fun.  But your mileage may vary.

Melanie Papalia as Liz Benton has copped the greatest gig in the world.  She has actually gotten a university grant to surf the web all day.  I don’t get offers that good in my spam.  She is using a Chatroulette type program called The Den to talk to people all over the world who want to see her boobs.

theden03Pretty quickly her computer is hacked.  It turns itself on, and The Den feed gives her some disturbing audio.  After a non-nonsensical scene where her boyfriend throws a scare into her, the hacker turns on her webcam and records them making out.  This results in the board pulling her grant, even although I suspect the vote was not unanimous.

After a few random chats with pervs, an Aussie, a Nigerian Prince scammer, etc, she sees a woman bound and gagged, who is thrown against a table and has her neck sliced open.  From there, things go badly for Liz in ways that I will not detail.  As always, the less known, the better.  This film actually got 3 or 4 verbal oh-shits from me, which is extremely rare.

Caveat #2:  You’re going to be reminded of a lot of other movies.  My theory is that originality is over-rated, so it didn’t really bother me.  Yes, what they have created here uses some familiar building blocks, but how they put them to together is better than 90% of the crap in this genre.  I’m sure there are many more examples, but off the top of my head, all of these are represented here: Megan is Missing, Hostel, Saw, V/H/S, Devils Due, The Strangers.

My well-reasoned argument is, “so what”.  I came to be entertained and they delivered.


Watching cable news when I was younger and more stupider prepared me for this.


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