The Best Screenlife Horror Movies

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The early 2000s tech doesn’t make for the most visually compelling movie on this list, but it does get the edge for novelty. Plus, Dees and Burton give natural performances, mirroring The Blair Witch Project’s trick of feeling like real footage of normal, hapless people. 

Unfriended 

As much as olds like me love horror movies, the genre’s main and best audience will always be teens. And for the teens of 2014, few things would be scarier than being shamed on the internet. Director Leo Gabriadze, working from a script by Nelson Greaves, plays on that fear for Unfriended, a movie about a group chat session gone wrong. When an intruder with the username “billie227” enters their video chat, friends Blaire (Shelley Hennig), Mitch (Moses Storm), Jess (Renee Olstead), Ken (Jacob Wysocki), and Adam (Will Peltz), must confront the fallout of their behavior. 

Despite its 2010s tech, Unfriended functions like a classic slasher movie, complete with a group of shallow teens who get picked off by a killer looking for revenge. It even has ridiculous kills, including one involving a mishap with a blender. However, its cyberbullying plot makes the movie still relevant, and thus more realistic, than most classic slasher fare, especially for the intended audience.  

Megan is Missing

Megan is Missing

Although it was released in 2011 to mostly indifferent audiences, Megan is Missing briefly became an internet sensation nearly 10 years later, when the teens on TikTok shared clips of the movie, calling it one of the most disturbing ever made. To be fair, Megan is Missing is extremely disturbing, even getting banned in New Zealand. Unfortunately, it’s also not very good. But its unlikely position in popular culture means it belongs on a list of best desktop movies. 

The lone feature film credit of television director Michael Goi, Megan is Missing displays footage from news reports and home movies, compiled in an investigation into the disappearance of 14-year-olds Megan (Rachel Quinn) and Amy (Amber Perkins). The extreme nature of the girls’ fate makes the movie recall the pearl-clutching of Internet movies from the late 90s, but it also gives the film an enjoyable exploitation feel, an enjoyable bit of trash to terrify the TikTok generation.

Elijah Wood in Open Windows

Open Windows

Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo has made his career by finding unlikely approaches to familiar genres. After debuting with his twisty time-travel story Timecrimes, Vigalondo went on to make an alien-invasion romance (Extraterrestrial) and a relationship drama with Kaiju (Colossal). With this track record, it’s no surprise that Vigalondo would be interested in the burgeoning desktop movie format. Part slasher, part revenge thriller, all presented through the desktop of hapless movie obsessive Nick (Elijah Wood), Open Windows is a nasty piece of work that takes full advantage of the subgenre’s offerings. 

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