Surveillance and Privacy Horrors in 13 Cameras

13-cameras-poster

Your home is meant to be a safe haven, protecting you from the dangers of the outside world. However, with today’s technology, home invaders can easily find ways to break in without actually breaking in. The 2015 film, 13 Cameras, shows us how the horrors of a home invasion can be made real through simple video surveillance.

 

In 13 Cameras, a creepy and sweaty landlord, Gerald, played by Neville Archambault, fixes up a starter home and installs tiny hidden cameras around the house, from the shower to the bedroom and even inside the toilet bowl. He rents this house out to a newlywed and young couple, Ryan and Claire (P.J. McCabe and Brianne Moncrief, respectively) and parents-to-be. Gerald constantly watches and gawks at the couple through his television screens as they go about their daily lives, and we experience the creeping horror of 24/7 video surveillance as it invades the spaces we consider to be most private.

 

There have actually been multiple real-life accounts of non-consenting video surveillance, of course. In August of 2015, a couple in Toronto found themselves victims to this very crime. While watching Netflix, their webcam was hacked and they were sent intimate pictures of themselves in the following days. Any wireless device can easily and unknowingly be hacked and used against you. However, 13 Cameras offers a new perspective on a different threat. Although not exactly common, landlords spying on tenants can be a real and plausible threat – something that can even happen to you.

 

Writer and director, Victor Zarcoff, does a great job of displaying the right amount of found footage, making sure not to overuse this format throughout the film. The film succeeds in this format, avoiding full Paranormal Activity style and opting for a… Continue reading

Film Review: Bleed

Sarah (Chelsey Crisp, “Fresh Off the Boat”) and Matt (Michael Steger, “90210”) have moved into a big house in the country. Sarah is pregnant and the couple hopes to raise their new family away from the city. They’ve invited their friends Bree and Dave out to the new house to celebrate. Sarah’s estranged twin brother Eric and his girlfriend Skye crash the housewarming party, and they convince the group to spend the evening ghost hunting in the nearby ruins of a burned-out prison.

Michael Steger and Chelsey Crisp in Bleed

Michael Steger and Chelsey Crisp in Bleed

Bleed is the first feature film from writer/director Tripp Rhame (also a first for co-writer Ben Jacoby). The filmmakers were wise to surround themselves with veteran actors who do a good job of bringing to life an otherwise middling screenplay. Crisp and cast elevate a run of the mill straight-to-video offering to something better; a film that successfully creates a spooky remote atmosphere. In the first act, Sarah has a blow out on a lonely country road and a squirrelly small-town deputy comes along to help her change her tire. Actor Mark Ashworth plays the deputy and his performance is a stand out. I would have really enjoyed seeing much more of him and was disappointed that he didn’t have a larger role to play.

Much of the film features subtle makeup effects that work beautifully, without drawing too much attention to them. The digital visual effects, however, cheapened some scenes they were intended to enhance. These moments weren’t terrible or jarring, but some unneeded bigger visual moments were attempted that didn’t particularly benefit the end product. Bleed shines more during its more atmospheric and simpler moments. The film’s runtime is only 80 minutes, yet it drags a little in places. Bleed is an above average ghost story… Continue reading

Where did Cloverfield Come From? And Where is it Going?

By Jason “Fozzie” Nelson

 

clover 1 pic pngLast month the film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi was released to middling reviews and minimal box office. While the film itself holds very little interest to horror fans specifically a trailer attached to the film has fans buzzing, including, and possibly most of all, yours truly. The trailer shows a trio of people living in a subterranean bunker and entertaining themselves with games and music. Slowly the music becomes more sinister as we discover that the female of the trio is being held against her will and attempts an escape. When she finally reaches the door to freedom we are shown that the world isn’t as she suspected and something horrible has befallen the earth. Certainly an interesting concept but the most interesting thing of all was when the title appeared first displaying the word we have all been waiting to see again nigh on 8 years, Cloverfield before the rest of the title comes into view displaying the film’s full title, 10 Cloverfield Lane, at which point the Internet went INSANE!

While little is known about the new film’s connection to the 2008 juggernaut about a giant creature rampaging through Manhattan, one thing is certain: Internet sleuths are hot on the case to find out more. Luckily we won’t have to wait too long since the film is scheduled for release on March 11th of this year. There is a lot to investigate and deduce from the short trailer, and some viral marketing to parse through, but let’s put that aside for the moment and talk about the film that started it all to understand the origin of the monster, affectionately referred to as Clovie by those in the know.

The writer of Cloverfield, Drew Goddard, explicitly… Continue reading