July 24, 2018 14 Cameras (Movie Review)
Hotels are no longer the only option for people to stay at during their vacation: now there are services that allow for the rental of other people’s homes, which are often much nicer and cheaper than the alternative. What better way to enjoy a vacation than to relax in a nice home that does not belong to you? But what if the landlord is not in it just to earn some extra money? What if the entire rental set up exists for much darker purposes? Coming to theaters on Friday, July 27, 2018, Gravitas Ventures offers up 14 Cameras, a film that will bring pause to anyone willingly staying in a stranger’s home.
A sequel to 2015’s 13 Cameras, the new film follows Lori (Lora Martinez-Cunningham: The Book of Eli 2010, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials 2015) and Arthur (Hank Rogerson: Sicario 2015, Kepler’s Dream 2017) who decide to take a family vacation to Santa Fe with their son Kyle (John-Paul Howard: Hell or High Water 2016, Midnight, Texas series), daughter Molly (Brytnee Ratledge: Longmire series, Only the Brave 2017), and her friend Danielle (Amber Midthunder: Priceless 2016, Legion series). Their rental house is beautiful, remote, and surprisingly cheap, and the only thing anyone is really worried about is the potential of boredom without cable to help entertain. What they do not know yet is that they are the entertainment!
Danielle notices her belongings have been disturbed and/or have gone entirely missing, and she immediately blames Kyle. This creates a lot of friction in the house, but Danielle has unwittingly pointed the finger at the wrong person. What she and the rest of the family do not know is that Gerald (Neville Archambault: Looking for Maria Sanchez 2013, 13 Cameras 2015), the landlord of the rental property, is a twisted voyeur. Unbeknown to his tenants, he has installed spy cameras throughout the house, documenting their every move, and he shares these feeds on the dark web. When the family is out of the house, he digs through their belongings, and especially takes pleasure in sniffing and fondling Danielle’s underwear.
Simply watching is not enough for him, though. He has Claire (Brianne Moncrief: All My Children series, Not Right Now 2015) captive in an underground bunker, where she has been held prisoner so long, she does not even remember for how long. Recently, he has also kidnapped Sarah (Chelsea Edmundson: Casual series, Thunder Road 2018), a roommate of a former tenant. While Claire is too terrified to try to escape, because she knows he will kill her, Sarah is determined to survive and free them both. All of this is happening under the nose of Jr (Gavin White: The Reunion 2017, Artik 2018), Gerald’s young supposed son. Jr begins to notice something is wrong, and suddenly stumbles into Gerald’s dark secret.
Meanwhile, the viewers on the dark web are getting bolder: they like what they see and want more of Danielle. When things begin to get out of Gerald’s control, he will stop at nothing to keep his perverse secrets hidden – nothing and no one will be able to stand in his way. Who will ultimately survive, and will Gerald’s reign of dark terror finally come to an end?
With advances in technology, it is becoming more and more difficult to go anywhere without leaving some kind of imprint; there is always a way to track a person as long as a phone or computer is nearby. That is an unspoken contract that is agreed upon by the user, but no one agrees for strangers to hide cameras to document and track their every move. Almost no one goes on vacation and sweeps the house for hidden devices, but the reality is that it could happen; spy cameras are readily available to anyone who wants to purchase them. They can be disguised as shower heads or electrical sockets, or really any every day, ordinary household appliance and no one would be the wiser. This film makes the possibility of this a terrifying reality. Contracts are signed before rentals are handed over, but there is no contract that willingly admits to spying on the renters!
Archambault’s Gerald is the personification of creepy. Every time he enters the screen it is difficult for the viewer not to involuntarily cringe. From the deep scarring on his face, to his off-putting shuffling around, or constant open mouth breathing, he is the type of man that immediately screams danger. What is interesting is that Gerald only seems to like to watch and fondle personal belongings, never actually touch his victims; even when he is giving Claire a bath, he does not use his bare hands. He is a cold-blooded killer, kidnapper, voyeur, and all around sick man, but he does seem to understand that, even as a prisoner, he could never actually be with any of these women. It does force the viewer to wonder if he has all this power, why he would not just go ahead and do everything he desires? The question of why he is this way is also constant. While discussing Danielle’s man troubles, Molly explains this the best: “Some guys are just fucked up. It’s like they were born that way.” It sounds simple, but how else can pure evil like Gerald’s be explained?
People go on vacations to hopefully have some fun and relieve stress. No one anticipates having to fight to survive just because the wrong rental property was chosen. Sometimes deals that look too good to be true really are: the place is beautiful and cheap, but money is not the only currency here. 14 Cameras will definitely make any viewer pause before renting a place from an unknown landlord. After all, it could be Gerald’s or someone like him running the show. It is for these reasons that CrypticRock gives 14 Cameras a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.