Ever since the invention of video chat, there have been numerous websites pop up that allow you to video chat with a complete stranger. The idea seems harmless enough, outside of the random nudity you are certain to come upon, but The Den, directed by Zachary Donohue, takes it a step further and shows the absolute worst thing you could witness online-death.
Elizabeth (Melanie Papalia) is a grad student studying a video chat website called “The Den” and the habits of the people she meets on there. Her goal is to talk to as many different people in as many different places as possible to get a variety of study samples. While this is happening, every conversation will be recorded to her computer.
From extreme nudity to puppetry to cats cleaning themselves, Elizabeth interacts with all sorts of strange people but this one girl that keeps popping up is easily the strangest. Her video chat doesn’t work but she is able to type chat with Elizabeth.
Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, from the moment that girl’s photo popped up on the screen, Elizabeth’s computer was hacked and all of her information became available to the person hiding behind that photo. It isn’t long before the photo finally turns into a video and the girl that was in the photo is now being murdered by the person hacking into Elizabeth’s computer.
Now Elizabeth’s loved ones are being hunted and killed one by one and her life is being destroyed by the person behind it all.
What started out as an innocent study has become a lesson in the dangers of the internet, teaching Elizabeth that the world outside just might be safer than the world inside the computer she has become so attached to and that The Den is more than just a chatroom, it’s a reality.
The Den is a suspenseful and terrifying peek inside the insanity that lies just beyond your computer screen. It is truly horrifying to think of all of the personal information that we keep stored in our computers that anyone with the right skills can acquire to use against us.
Now, maybe the intent of every person on the internet isn’t to track you down and kill you but not everyone on the internet is good and you never truly know someone you only talk to through the internet. In fact, it’s possible you never truly know someone at all.
I will be investing in some amazing security for my computer and avoiding all online chats with strangers from now on.