Some of the most frightening horror films out there are the ones that make no attempt to jump out and startle you, but rather leave you feeling disturbed in the days and weeks that follow.
13 Cameras, along with its sequel 14 Cameras taps into very real fears, and thusly remains one of the scariest films currently on Netflix.
But what makes it so unsettling? Let’s take a voyeuristic look at both movies and find out why!
World’s Creepiest Landlord
No discussion of these movies is complete without mentioning the incredibly disturbing performance by Neville Archambault as the voyeuristic landlord Gerald.
Between his empty stares, gravelly voice, inability to ever close his mouth, rancid smell, and unusually muscular physique, he stands out and is unlike any other human being alive.
As his new tenants move in, he does strange things like putting their toothbrush in his mouth, and disturbing things like watching their intimate moments via his hidden cameras.
However, it doesn’t seem like (on the surface at least), that he’s watching them for reasons of sexual gratification, rather he just stares intently at his monitors, fascinated by it.
As if the act itself of watching is his true vice. Gerald isn’t just your typical creepy horror film villain. In fact there’s even something oddly hypnotic about him.
Real World Implications
True story: the first time I saw 13 Cameras my fiancée and I were looking for a house. So we watched the movie one night, and the very next day had an appointment to look at one such house, and upon entering, we found that the living room, dining room, and kitchen were all fitted with security cameras.
Needless to say, this really freaked us out, and we wound up not going with that house (for mainly other reasons). But the fact that it was so freaky to see those cameras drives home why these movies are so unnerving.
Landlords spying on their tenants is sadly not limited to the realm of fiction. Whether it’s to maintain an upper hand by having more information, or trying to extort the tenants, or for some sick perversion, the headlines are littered with cases of this happening.
And unless the tenants are actively looking for these hidden devices, they can remain in place for years, completely undetected.
Not Just Landlords
As many alleged, and as Edward Snowden confirmed, governments have the ability (and the motivation) to spy on their own citizens in the name of national security.
But it’s not just governments. Hackers have been known to get into people’s private devices and publicly release information (look no further than celebrity picture leaks from their phones).
Between this, and companies who admit they’re spying on us in order to target advertising, it’s hard to know if we’re ever really alone. Even as you’re reading this article on a computer, phone, or tablet, who knows if someone is watching you through the camera?
13 Cameras takes this real world concern and runs with it into horror movie territory. The simple fact is most of us know don’t live in constant fear of being supernaturally haunted (assuming you believe in it) or even being murdered by a slasher villain or serial killer.
These events are quite rare in real life. However, there is a very high probability, if not absolute certainty, that you have been watched or listened to at some point without your knowledge or consent. And it’s because of that concept that 13 Cameras is so terrifying!
What do you think of 13 Cameras? Did it freak you out? Let us know in the comments!