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10 Eeriest Internet-Centric Horror Movies

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Internet Horror Movies
By  · Published on October 9th, 2020

5. Assassination Nation (2018)

Assassination Nation

Before Sam Levinson nailed the dizzying aesthetic of the zoomer teen dream with HBO’s smash hit Euphoria, he made an underrated powder keg of a film called Assassination Nation. The genre-busting teen movie follows a group of four high school girls in the town of Salem whose lives are torn apart when a hacker leaks all of their private information. In this stylized satire of young womanhood in the 21st century, Salem soon devolves into bloody chaos, with dangerous men in masks hunting the girls down Purge-style. Assassination Nation is a biting take on the ethical minefield of web culture and its impact on real-life people. With impeccable production design, sharp writing, and a killer cast of newcomers led by Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Abra, and MVP Hari Nef, it’s a can’t-miss. (Valerie Ettenhofer)

4. Hard Candy (2005)

Hard Candy

The internet is a mistake that never should have happened. We’re all aware of that fact, but we still use it because we’re monsters. On the internet, nothing is as it seems, while also being exactly as it seems. That’s the case with David Slade‘s directorial debut, Hard Candy. Elliot Page stars as a 14-year-old girl that uses an online chat to lure a 32-year-old creep (Patrick Wilson) out for coffee so she can get him to admit to being a pedophile. Page and Wilson are in top form as they go head-to-head in a sinister game of cat-and-mouse that twists and turns before reaching a rather shocking conclusion. Despite the dark subject matter, Hard Candy is endlessly fascinating and impossible to look away from. (Chris Coffel)

3. Unfriended (2014)

Unfriended Internet Horror Movie
Universal Pictures

There are a handful of films on this list that feature the desktop perspective conceit, but absolutely no other comes anywhere close to utilizing the format better than Unfriended. From the bookmarks and apps that put us in Blaire’s (Shelley Hennig) headspace before she says a word to the immaculate ways in which the film will distract us with a notification while introducing a scare elsewhere on the screen, the film thoroughly understands just how much can be contained within a thirteen-inch display. The plot, which centers on an invasive supernatural Skype presence, is just corny enough to communicate that we shouldn’t be thinking about it too hard. This is a film that knows its strength is its mastery of the technological possibilities, not its narrative set up. The result is an inventive, inimitable, and thoroughly entertaining horror film that lands among the best of this century. No glitches detected. (Anna Swanson)

2. Cam (2018)

Cam Internet Horror Movie

How can we know that anything we see online is real? Photos can be manipulated, information can be false, and even reflections of ourselves can be duplicitous. In Daniel Goldhaber and Isa Mazzei’s film, this fact is uncovered by camgirl Alice (Madeline Brewer), who finds that an exact replica is impersonating her, online. This leads Alice down a dark and trippy road where nothing is as it seems and can’t trust anyone to be who they say they are. Anchored by Brewer’s gobsmackingly strong performance, Cam is an acutely focused look at how the internet can warp someone’s selfhood, safety, and even sanity. (Anna Swanson)

1. Pulse (2001)

Pulse Internet Horror Movie

Prescient in its depiction of the loneliness embedded in 21st-century technological advancement, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse is a masterful and genuinely terrifying exploration of the internet’s capabilities. The film follows characters weaving their way through Tokyo and eventually crossing paths following the discovery that people are vanishing or dying, and that strange traces of them are remaining on their computers. Kurosawa’s measured pace and command of tone make the film a dream-like portrayal of the internet’s power that has only become more frightening in the nearly two decades since its release. Many other films on this list conjure horror from the notion that the internet is permanent and that anything we put online could come back to haunt us. Pulse lands in the number one spot for its depiction of the opposite: we are alone, we are impermanent, and in the end, nothing of us will remain. (Meg Shields)

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Anna Swanson is a Senior Contributor who hails from Toronto. She can usually be found at the nearest rep screening of a Brian De Palma film.