It goes without saying that the digital age has begun to terrify some of us. Now, Hollywood has begun to take advantage of that fear and take it one step further.
In Today's young society, people date by swiping right, they talk using 140 characters, and they listen through headphones. You have read all the articles and heard all of the opinions about how "you kids are always on your phones" or that we're too obsessed with our online profile that we fail to present ourselves any better in person. I get it. I'm not here to prove you wrong or prove you right. However, as someone who takes advantage of social media by sharing my opinion on different topics, connecting with long lost friends, and creating a digital scrapbook for myself, I have never used or manipulated technology to better myself. I have never felt unsafe from my online life. Until now.
MTV's Eye Candy premiered this week. The story revolves around Lindy, a young woman who's sister was kidnapped three years ago. Lindy soon begins to suspect that her sister's disappearance and many more murders and missing persons case around New York are connected to a digital stalker, who identifies her as the username "eyecandy." The story is very intriguing, although following many clichéd teen-horror story lines, the show sets up what could be a very taut thriller like recent trends Pretty Little Liars and Serial and a nostalgiac feel for Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer fans. Even with a female protagonist, the show doesn't victimize her (at least not yet). The most striking thing about this new series is it's use of technology against the characters. A killer stalking and killing people who lie on their online profiles? Horrifying. Why? Because we all do it. We all have that #1 Picture we use, we shed a couple pounds in numbers, we pretend to be into hockey yet have no clue what it's about. We all lie. The ones that don't may just live to tell about it in Eye Candy.
Then today, Universal released the trailer for it's new found-footage horror, Unfriended.
The film is shot entirely from 6 friends computer screens capturing the terror that ensues when their dead classmate signs onto their skype. Yes it's supernatural, that may not actually happen to us, but have some sort of suspension of disbelief. Think of the ghost as a metaphor (ooooooh!). This manipulation of technology can begin to really play a part in the horror genre and may have very well introduced us to the newest cycle of fear. Horror is known to play off social fears and bring them to life on screen to scare us even more. Invasion of the Body Snatchers brought our fears of communism to light, Scream exemplified the terror of the teenager, and Evil Dead or the zombie trend emphasizes our fear of health and infection. Horror has made our worst nightmares more horrible, and the time has come for us to fear technology once more.
I could go on and on about how TV is the new Film experience (shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story) and that horror may have just found it's new money maker, but the cohesion of these two media platforms playing out our fears of technology may just be a sign that this is the decline of our safety on the internet. After watching the pilot of Eye Candy, or waiting until the April premiere of Unfriended, you may just consider putting down your phone and meeting your dates the good old fashioned way, and maybe you'll think again before embarrassing a classmate online. It could go a long way.