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Interview: THE DEN’s Melanie Papalia

The Den, the new techno-thriller from IFC Midnight directed by Zachary Donohue, hits select theaters and VOD this Friday, and Nerdist got a chance to interview the film’s star, Melanie Papalia. Papalia plays Elizabeth, a character who receives a grant to study human behavior through a Chatroulette-style website called “The Den”. While online, she witnesses a brutal murder and her life quickly spirals out of control.

The Den makes use of the found footage style of filmmaking, but for good reason. Most of the movie is shown through Elizabeth’s webcam or video chat on her phone as she interacts with strangers on the site. I asked Papalia what she thought was so scary about the idea of cameras being so prevalent in our everyday lives, and she said, “You know, we’re living in a world now where technology basically runs everything and so I think that this movie is definitely pretty valid… The thought that you don’t really know if your computer is off, if someone is hacking into your stuff, if someone is watching you, I know the thought of that really creeps people out.

“The whole thing in this movie was kind of like scene-by-scene, you really had to dissect, even with the happier stuff at the beginning of the movie, you know, how would this happen for real? We never wanted to make it like, ‘OK, in the movie world how would we do this?’ We wanted to seem like someone that was watching the movie was actually watching this stuff really take place.”

Papalia is, herself, a horror fan, and has been ever since she was young. Did that have anything to do with her interest in the project? ”I’ve seen them all and I always wanted to make one! I’ve always wanted to do one that really scared people and in a way that really scared people. We’ve all seen the ones where the girls are stupid… It excited me as a whole to do a movie like this, you know, being someone who loves horror myself but the fact that she is smart it made it all the more exciting.”

Papalia can next be seen in Frankie and Alice with Academy Award winner Halle Berry and the alien abduction flick Extraterrestrial. The Den opens in select theaters and on VOD this Friday.

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