It’s hard to tell if the makers of the bewilderingly awful home invasion thriller 14 Cameras — which follows cartoonishly gross Internet voyeur Gerald (Neville Archambault) as he uses nanny-cams to spy on a nuclear family at a secluded California summer house — believe that web users are innately monstrous or if the Internet only underscores mankind’s innate cruelty.
On the one hand, disaffected teenager Molly (Brytnee Ratledge), one of Gerald’s four victims, evokes the nihilism of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and seemingly speaks for screenwriter Victor Zarcoff when she diagnoses Gerald’s monstrous behavior: “Some guys are just fucked up.”
On the other hand, Zarcoff and neophyte co-directors Seth Fuller and Scott Hussion mystifyingly juxtapose Gerald’s skeevy real-world behavior — he likes to sniff women’s panties and drink milk straight out of the carton! — with the childish shit-posting that defines the members of his private “dark web” chat room. It’s especially hard to understand why one anonymous user seems to quote John Belushi’s Jake Blues when he asks Gerald to auction off his unwitting camera subjects: “How much for the girl?!?”
Unfortunately, Archambault’s churlishly over-the-top performance makes it impossible to take 14 Cameras seriously, no matter how you interpret Gerald’s actions. He breathes (heavily) through his mouth and waddles around like a cartoon yenta with his shoulders hunched, his eyes wide open and his jaw sticking out. Archambault’s perplexingly broad mannerisms suggest that the Internet, like bad horror movies, is only as bad as you make it.
Directed by Scott Hussion and Seth Fuller
Opens July 27, Cinema Village
Available on demand
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