Trailer Into REaction: Shook (2021) | Official Red Band Trailer

If it weren’t fairly obvious by now, I really enjoy horror movies in general though what I’ve noticed lately is that I’ve been seeking out those movies that are part of what I like to call the “ghost in the machine” sub-genre (there’s probably an actual name for them though I have no idea what it is).

They tend to be visually speaking somewhat similar to found-footage movies in that they tend to at least appear to be relatively inexpensive to produce (at least in terms of what’s required, which oftentimes consist of little more than a few individuals and their computers, whom we come to know as they interact with each other via FaceTime, instant messenger platforms and the like).

I’ve divided these movies into two types. The first involves around literal ghosts in the machine – oftentimes the spirit of someone who was wronged in life and manages to “live” again via the Internet to enact revenge on those that caused their death – a good example of this type would be Unfriended (2014).

The second replaces the vengeful spirit with a murder cult that tracks down it’s targets via the Internet and turns their own computers into weapons against them, like in The Den (2013) and Unfriended: Dark Web (2018).

(It’s worth mentioning that the Unfriended movies are examples of both types in that the first revolves around a ghost while the second, a murder cult (though the visual esthetic remains the same and links the movies beyond their titles).

Though I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention that think Kairo (2001) – sometimes called Pulse, which is the same title of the American 2006 remake – which was the first movie I’ve seen that revolved around the idea of a literal ‘ghost in the machine’ (and while that on a thematic basis may sound somewhat similar to Wes Craven’s Shocker (1989) that movie plays more like a retread of Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street than is typically the case with this genre).

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