Technology is frightening. Just ask the Amish. After all, computers contract and die of viruses on a regular basis. Office printers have been known to burst into flames. Televisions stifle demons with white lines and black fuzz. Then there are cell phones, with their inability to detect a signal at the most inconvenient of times. Ask anyone in a horror movie trying to find service.
But that's the thing about horror movies. They're meant to tap into those innate fears, those things that bother us whether we care to admit it or not. And as much as we, as a society, hate to admit it -- we're entirely dependent upon technology for entertainment, for work, for nearly every aspect of our daily lives. It's an unspoken terror that plagues us and one that a selective group of horror flicks has nailed right on the head. The following movies remind us how scary cable wires, video feeds, and voicemails really are. And that's before the demons attack.
The Ring (2002)
In 2002's The Ring, a remake of the 1998 Japanese flick Ringu, a journalist (played by Naomi Watts) is sucked into the depraved world of a dead girl whose video tape is responsible for killing its viewers a week after its been watched. It has all the elements a good horror movie should have: a couple of creepy kids, some powerful death scenes, and a video filled with everything from slimy bugs to broken nails. Even with its PG-13 rating, the movie impresses with its vivid imagery and the fact that it's hard to beat a girl crawling out of an actual television. VHS tapes are apparently the devil's work. That's why the world now uses DVDs.
There's a web site for just about every subject on the planet: movies, music, food, travel. If it piques even one person's interest, chances are there's something on the web. In 2002's FeardotCom, victims pile up one-by-one after entering an interactive web site named, get this, feardotcom.com. As a hard hitting detective (played by Stephen Dorff) tries to piece together all the clues, he realizes the only way for him to solve the crime is to become the victim. The movie uses a hands-on snuff film as its weapon of choice, the Internet serving as the backdrop for a perverse series of murders. An interesting take on the dependence society holds for the world wide web.
One Missed Call (2008)
Phone calls have always been a serial killer favorite. The killer in Scream always dials his victims before laying down the knife. There are dozens of babysitter movies with the same premise -- the killer is calling from inside the house! And there's always the frequent cutting of telephone lines, the voice on the other end being that of a killer, the list goes on and on. But in 2008's sad excuse for a Japanese remake, One Missed Call, it's like taking The Ring and using a phone call instead of a video tape. The voice calls you, you hear how you die, and boom, you die. We think someone's cell phone bill shocked them into writing a screenplay.
White Noise (2005)
Electronic voice phenomena has become more and more popular over the years as ghost hunters across the country claim to record the voices of the dead in order to play them back for the living. We see it all the time on shows like Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State. And in the 2005 movie White Noise, a grieving husband uses it to communicate with his wife. While we didn't find this movie particularly scary, the idea of communicating so openly with the dead isn't exactly something we'd rule out as frightening. It's terrifying to think that these devices could suddenly turn on us, but in the world of horror, anything is possible.