5 Underrated Horror Movies About The Internet


It seems like all people talk about today is their relationship with the internet, yet, one of the greatest forums mankind has to discuss the tough questions comes up short on the topic. Something about making horror movies about the internet lands as dated disposable trash more times than not.

The newest technology of the era is always scary, often without needing much creativity from artists to bring out the horror. Internet horror films far too often fall into preachy paranoid misunderstandings of basic human nature that vaguely tie in the scary aspects of online life. It’s often comical, but some artists find the soul within the ever-growing system of data to create something special.

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pulse

Known in Japan as Cairo, which means “circuit”, this 2001 film is one of the finest Japanese ghost stories of the era. Released three years after Hideo Nakata defined and popularized the genre with ringu, Kiyoshi Kurosawa shifted the format in a more contemporary direction. While Sadako Yamamura comes through a CRT television thanks to a haunted VHS tape, the spirits of pulse make their way into reality through the nascent computer monitor and dial-up modem. The premise sounds weak, barely enough to carry a goose bumps episode, but Kurosawa created a haunting and crushing piece from the simple suggestion. The horror of pulse isn’t ghosts, it’s the chilling possibility that no matter how we live, no matter how connected we are, we are always alone.


cam

Writer Isa Mazzei developed cam partially from her own experience working as a camgirl, a subject which also informed her 2019 memoir. The horror tale she developed from this part of her life blends an eerie interrogation of identity, a grim view of how people treat sex workers, and a solid horror experience in a tight 90-minute package. The plot follows Alice, a woman who discovers that something perfectly replicating her appearance and mannerisms has taken over her on-camera persona. Reminiscent of Dostoevsky’s The Double, cam torments its protagonist and audience with the internal terror of an identical Doppelgänger taking over one’s life and doing it better. It’s atmospheric, visually creative, gripping, and much smarter than its premise might suggest. The anonymity of the internet is weaponized against a person to attack and question the very existence of identity. No one is who they are online, but cam asks whether someone or something else could take that online persona without the soul behind it.


host

In the world of horror movies about the internet, the “screenlife” sub-genre is the most direct take on the concept. The trend was popularized in 2015 with Unfriended, which was the product of Timur Bekmambetov, the producer who came up with the concept. That film, however, was plagued with terrible acting, abysmal writing, and generally awful execution of a decent idea. Five years later, however, someone took a nearly identical idea and made hosta tale about teenagers who feel real and behave like real humans. host is barely feature length, but it’s as long as it needs to be. The story covers a group of teens watching a séance over a Zoom call, only to awaken a malicious spirit that threatens all of their lives. It’s a simple story and a fast-paced horror experience, adapted from a simple prank director Rob Savage pulled on some of his friends on a video call. The film was made with both the ongoing pandemic restrictions and its effect on mankind in mind. It’s a perfect movie for modern times.


We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

Jane Schoenbrun is one of the most incisive and unique voices when it comes to art about the internet. Their 2021 debut feature film sees them serve as writer, director, and editor is a visceral scream on the other end of a black LCD screen. There isn’t anything else quite like We’re All Going to the World’s Fairbut, like host, it isn’t underrated through a lack of appreciation. Most who’ve seen it described it as a powerful coming-of-age journey into the bizarre nightmare of dysphoria and identity. Instead, it’s an issue of visibility. Not enough people have seen We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, and that should change. Those with any interest in the internet or horror cinema should seek the film out, because it’s completely new, and the world needs to see what Schoenbrun will come up with next.


hard candy

A glance at David Slade’s hard candy might mark it as distinctly less online than the other films on this list, but it is still steeped in the horrors that only the internet can create. The film stars Elliot Page and Patrick Wilson as a 14-year-old kid and a 32-year-old photographer respectively. The two meet in a shady online chat room, exchange information, and agree to meet up under lascivious circumstances. What follows is some of the most viscerally unpleasant tension in modern cinema. hard candy assaults its audience at every turn, but it must be seen to be believed.

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