Hacked (2016) aka The Den (2013) Review

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I was looking to see if Netflix, Amazon or Sky had the film Creed on them but none of them did, I’d not used Amazon prime for a while so thought why not have a scroll through the horror section. There were quite a few films on there I’d not seen, I was hoping to find something short when I stumbled on Hacked. The premise was quite good at least to me, so I sat back and decided to give it a watch.

So it’s worth noting that although this film is listed as Hacked from 2016 on Amazon it is on IMDB as The Den from 2013 with it’s official trailer on YouTube being 2014.

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Director – Zachary Donohue

Writers – Zachary Donohue and Lauren Thompson

Stars – Melanie Papalia, David Schlachtenhaufen and Adam Shaprio.

Run time –  74 minutes

Budget – $500,000 estimated

IMDB.com Link

Obviously the world of technology evolves quickly and with it bring lots of new ideas for films. We’ve seen found footage films go from shaky hand cams to Google specs. There’s also films like Unfriended which is all done through one screen and Hacked is pretty similar in some regards. The element of social media has been seen across various horror films as either the main catalyst or to add to the main story, Friend Request is the one that springs to mind immediately.

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The film starts with Elizabeth (Melanie Papalia) who is trying to get a grant so she can do some research on random video call website The Den. This all takes place on her laptop as she makes video calls and the film focuses on her face only with other characters appearing in boxes on the screen. She starts her research and documents all her meaningful encounters on this social media video site.

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She obviously encounters the normal for these types of things, men flashing their cocks, weird transvestites, people pranking her, men touching themselves and all sorts. Then comes the “meat” of the film, she keeps getting connected to a woman with no webcam and just a picture. Eventually it flashes to the woman who is then brutally killed live on video chat.

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She’s obviously shaken up but refuses to stop using the site, with the help of a friend Elizabeth starts to try and find out who this murder victim was. Her boyfriend isn’t happy that he’s not really seeing much of her. Then strange things start to happen to the people in her life, they start to either disappear, get attacked or killed. The entire film is done over various screens, laptop cams, CCTV, body cameras etc.

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Elizabeth eventually discovers more and finds out the whole thing is not just some lunatic stalking her and her close friends and family. To be fair I didn’t think the film would go in the direction it did and I kept expecting a predictable twist that simply did not come.

The Good

  • Melanie Papalia who plays the main character who is involved in every scene in the film is fantastic in her role.
  • The film has a nice pacing building up the main character and various aspects of her life before moving to a sort of slasher film and then to the final third which is great fun.
  • There’s only a couple of doses of humour but they’re well placed and nicely done.
  • The pacing is good but the final third of the film is unpredictable and makes the story much bigger than I expected it to be.
  • I’m such a fan of films that have either one setting or are done like this mainly using one screen.
  • There’s not many kills in the film but when they do happen they are well done and they really impact the film in the right way, they’re pretty brutal too!
  • The chase scene towards the end and the very ending of the film was really well done.

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The Bad

  • As with all found footage style films there will be several times when you’ll think why or how the hell is this being filmed? If you can look past that you can enjoy this film.
  • Although she acts well as Elizabeth her character is to be blunt an arsehole.
  • Some people may want more victims.
  • The killer was a bit generic looking and I was thinking what the hell is this but don’t worry it all becomes clear by the end.

I really liked this film but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s story isn’t fantastic but it delivers enough in the build up to the fun final third and the brilliant ending. If you enjoyed Unfriended or Friend Request then you should enjoy this, it’s a pretty clever film and doesn’t have much predictability to it.

Overall Rating – 7/10

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