The movie, 14 Cameras, is a sequel to a movie called … wait for it, 13 Cameras. To date, I haven’t had the pleasure of watching 13 Cameras. But if it’s remotely similar in quality to the sequel, I’m pretty confident I didn’t miss much. What we have with 14 Cameras is another variant of the ‘technology is evil‘ horror subgenre. Like The Den, Unfriended, Unfriended: Dark Web, Megan is Missing, etc., 14 Cameras wants very badly to exploit public fears over the Internet and technology. Yet in contrast to those movies, 14 Cameras has almost no redeeming qualities to recommend.
A generic family rents a vacation home for a summer trip at a ridiculously low price. What could go wrong? For starters, the owner of the home is a voyeuristic pervert who has set up hidden surveillance cameras throughout the house. How many cameras? If you guessed that there are 14 different angles, you’re the winner. Now every private moment of their lives is being streamed live to the web. But not just the web. The ‘Dark Web’. Why? Because most people don’t understand the ‘dark web’, and it sounds scary.
14 Cameras Finds More Than 14 Ways to Insult Your Intelligence
If you couldn’t tell from the above synopsis, I found 14 Cameras to be almost offensively stupid. There are generally two types of bad movies. Self-aware bad movies that embrace their own ineptitude and occasionally rise to the level of being fun as a result. Then there are just plain bad movies so lazy and illogical that they offend on every level. 14 Cameras falls into the latter category.
To be honest, there are so many things wrong with 14 Cameras that it’s hard to know where to begin.
To be honest, there are so many things wrong with 14 Cameras that it’s hard to know where to begin. Characters are introduced at the start of the movie who disappear, never to re-surface again. Screenwriter Victor Zarcoff has clearly never used Airbnb before. No cable television. No wifi. Strands of hair in the shower. People rate and comment on those types of problems. Why would a family that has high school and college-aged kids rent a house in what looks like the sketchiest desert ever? There’s a sub-plot that just barely connects to the family-in-peril storyline. And don’t get me started on how 14 Cameras characterizes the ‘dark web.’
An Exploitation Film in Premise Only
Though horror movies can occasionally get away with lapses in logic, it’s inexcusable to be both both boring and scare-free. 14 Cameras may only be around 90 minutes long, but it’s a long 90 minutes. Very little happens in this movie. The pacing isn’t methodical, it’s plodding. There is not one moment in this movie that approaches being scary. In addition, there’s a lack of any real violence or gore. A character gets shot, but it happens off-screen with just a little blood hitting the wall.
14 Cameras is also guilty of being an exploitation movie that doesn’t exploit anything. At the start of the movie, there’s some reference to the number of surveillance cameras currently circulating in private hands. We even get a screenshot of someone surfing the web for cheap cameras. There’s lots of shots of computer code being typed on a screen. If you know nothing about the Internet and don’t own a smartphone, I guess this might amount to something creepy. And for a movie that’s about a creepy voyeur, there’s no gratuitous nudity. If you were browsing Netflix and picked 14 Cameras for that reason, you’ll be disappointed.
The World’s Worst Horror Film Villain
14 Cameras has the distinction of having arguably the worst horror film villain. Ever. The honors go to Neville Arcambault, who plays the voyeuristic Gerald. I don’t recall his name ever being used in the movie, but that’s what IMDb has listed. He is a disfigured, crippled man who spends the majority of the film looking either stunned or constipated. Take your pick. It really doesn’t matter, because Gerald isn’t remotely scary.
He is a disfigured, crippled man who spends the majority of the film looking either stunned or constipated. Take your pick.
But he is a man of contradictions. In spite of his inability to string together more than a few words at a time, Gerald is apparently a computer genius. Though he walks with a limp, Gerald can overpower just about anyone. He can also survive being run over by a large vehicle. And for someone who spends all his time watching people, Gerald has amassed enough money to own several desirable properties. He also has a strange hate for other people’s toothbrushes. What can I say, Gerald is complex.
Please Stop 15 Cameras From Happening
Perhaps the most amazing thing about 14 Cameras is that it took not one, but two directors, to assemble this movie. To make matters worse, the directors tease the possibility of yet another sequel. Arguably, that’s the scariest part of 14 Cameras. If you’re browsing on Netflix and this movie pops up under ‘Trending” titles, do yourself a favour and keep searching.
THE PROFESSOR’S FINAL GRADE: F