Once in a great while a movie comes along that just completely blows me away with its ability to resonate with the viewer and sort of cross the “4th wall” or so they call it. Zachary Donohue’s The Den is a voyeuristic nightmare of a film that crosses the line and makes you feel as if you are participating in the madness. I haven’t felt that way about a film since Funny Games; Even though most found footage films’ whole gimmick is to put you in the driver’s seat and make you feel the fear first hand… they usually fall flat, and give the average viewer motion sickness.
I have been an ally of “ff” movies for a long time and there are moments I can feel my faith being tested, making me feel like this sub-genre should just cease existing. (see my Devil’s Due review…yikes!). The Den, however, is such a breath of fresh air that it’s very easy to get enthralled with the story, like the characters, and even root for survival.
Melanie Papalia plays Elizabeth, a young woman working on a year-long behavioral study on internet users world-wide. Her attempt to contact and record her interactions with as many people as she can begins smoothly enough with the exception of teenage boys asking to “see her boobs” or random guys flashing their flaccid penises at her, until she comes across a chat where she see’s a graphic murder. When the police suspend their belief, she turns to her friends for help and the world that they discover is an uncomfortable one for sure.
The Den is an intense and perverse genre film that in my opinion is as ground breaking as Hostel or Saw with the social commentary right in your face. The Den trumps Cry_Wolf tenfold and succeeds in making you think twice about that Skype account.
I personally give this one 4.5 penis puppets out of 5! Check this one out July 29th when it gets released by IFC Films.