October 28, 2020

Social Media Horror

We’re all scared of the dark web, deep internet, and the idea of getting all our information stolen without consent. The self-evident quote, “what stays on the internet, stays forever” induces a shrill of pain in our minds, that we would rather stay behind closed doors and not exist. Unprecedented times today call for unprecedented measures of entertainment in the cine field of spooks. Combine all of the above and now you have a new sub-genre in horror films. A Social Media Horror. With growing amount of audiences on different social media platforms, there’s a certain fear lurking at the back of our minds, on what could one do with all of this data? Possibly either threaten us, rob us, or haunt us. That fear provokes jump scares, almost real-life terror scenarios, ‘what could go wrong?’ situations and other fresh served nightmares. This package summarizes the history of horror genre films and its unusual method implemented to entertain us. Hence, the classification fits well together. While there are a handful of horror films showcasing the dark side of the internet and its perils, most social media horror genre films are presented to us completely over the computer screens of the characters. And, this has indefinitely intrigued my interest in them.

A movie franchise released as Unfriended (2014) and its stand-alone sequel Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) are horror films presented over the computer screen. The first film directed by Leo Gabriadze and written by Nelson Greaves is a supernatural horror film. The entire storyline unfolds over a video-chat application on the main character’s computer display. The second film written and directed by Stephen Susco revolves completely over a video-chat application on the screen of a laptop that has access to the dark web. Even though, they’re both films watched through the screens, the second film stayed more in-touch with a fearful reality than the first. Further, Rob Savage’s Host (2020) uncovers over a video-call session between a group of friends isolated during COVID-19 pandemic. They gather together to perform a digital séance therefore indulging in eerie happenings. The fact that the film resembles an eerie portion of our reality today is indeed an extremely shocking undertone to this film.

Other noteworthy mention of films, which do not necessarily concentrate over the computer screen display, yet fall into the same sub-genre are as follows. Friend request (2016) is a German/English psychological horror directed by Simon Verhoeven and loosely based on the novel by Laura Marshall. The story unfolds over a social media application,  where the plot thickens between a group of friends fighting against a demonic presence online. Next, Cam (2018) is a digitized horror film written by Isa Mazzei. The story is partially based on her experience as a webcam girl combined with a variety of psychological overtones. And, Cam2Cam (2014) is a dark horror film directed by Joel Soisson. The plot, set in Bangkok, focuses on various characters and a serial killer on a cam website. There are several other amazing films falling under this sub category and many more yet to be discovered.

Thus, Social media horror genre films may appeal to the groups of people with an early and a dubious exposure to disparate social media platforms. Although the plotlines may seem predictable and recurring, the idea is pretty innovative. I would also like to take a stand on the fact that I don’t have high expectations over the genre’s success but it’s existence is pretty terrifying. So, do consider watching these movies and pan them out for yourselves.

List of movies mentioned: Unfriended (2014), Unfriended: Dark Web (2018), Host (2020), Friend request (2016), Cam (2018) & Cam2Cam (2014)

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