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Top Ten Horror Films Based on Technology


Scary Twists to our Little Comforts

Horror films work the best when they play with the fears and anxieties of the time. There’s rarely anything more fitting for being a theme or allegory in the horror genre than technology scares or the fear of how our dependence on progressive tech can come back to bite us. The influence of technology and the internet is a massive pit for horror to showcase the dangers and paranoia of modern technology.

Due to unpredictable applications of technology many examples seen in films often show teenagers or young adults getting swept into a situation online. Many of the films in this list have elements in common such as an event that goes “viral”, and meeting people online that are potentially dangerous. These are very understandable and realistic fears as well for many viewers who have a fear of technology.

10. Rings

A supernatural take on the viral video horror theme. Instead of just being limited to the atypical VHS set-up of her curse. The beginning of this film follows a class of people studying the nature of the VHS at the behest of a professor who wanted to research the nature of the afterlife and how Samara is connected. At some point Samara’s curse goes digital and is sent as an ambiguous email to hundreds of people, showing a terrifying example of viral videos.

9. Megan is Missing

Megan is Missing follows 2 teenage girls and their grisly encounters with online sexual predators. The story is generally unnerving and although it started out fairly tame it doon devolves into pure horror when the situation escalates to kidnapping and death. This found footage film is grounded enough to feel like a cautionary tale about meeting and growing affections for a persona online and the dangers they can pose.

8. Trust

Trust is similar to Megan is Missing due to the premise of a young girl named Annie Cameron talking to a stranger online that she falls in love with. The film is more of a drama but the situation is very chilling especially due to the implications of the film. The first half of the film follows the build up as Annie becomes invested in her “relationship” while the second half explores the aftermath of the situation and the reactions.

The film does a great job reflecting the dangers of online chatting while portraying the dark side of the internet and the lack of empathy many folks have when a tragedy occurs online. While technically not horror, Trust is a film that can terrify parents.

7. Smiley

Smiley is a psychological horror released in 2012 and is about a mysterious entity that has a blank face with a smiling emoticon carved into the flesh. The entity is Smiley Mcgee and he’s part of an urban legend where he can be summoned to kill a specific target and then his summoner. 

The film follows the main character’s descent to insanity as they feel stalked by this entity after testing out the legend. Smiley is full of twists and turns and shows another example of technology on the internet and the interactions online going awry.

6. Chain Letter

Chain Letter is a slasher film released in 2010 where the serial killer hunts and kills teenagers that don’t send chain letters to 5 other individuals. Chain letters infamous for being very annoying, creepy, and borderline everywhere if viewers go through comment sections on videos and posts. 

They can be about anything from saving family members, to getting rich if the message is spread in a chain, or getting a lucky fortune. Making a horror film around them is an interesting premise to take since it goes well with horror and suspense.


5. Child’s Play (2019)

The Child’s Play reboot deviates from the base franchise by giving Chucky a different origin and abilities. Instead of being a toy possessed by the spirit of a dead criminal, Chucky is a robotic toy that becomes autonomous due to a malfunction and can control many appliances in the area.

The way Chucky controls appliances and stalks after Andy and his other victims is akin to a mix between the Terminator and Alexa. How Chucky was made can also allude to the possibility of other dangers, referencing cases when technology goes wrong like phones blowing up or flaming hoverboards.

4. Stay Alive

Stay Alive was released in 2006 and focuses on a team of players trying to clear a Survival Horror game of the same name. The catch and danger in the film is that any of the players that perish in the game become targets for death in the real world. This game coined the original phrase as well and does bring some level of tension especially for fans of the Survival Horror genre.

3. Unfriended

Unfriended is set in a found footage format but through a skype call. A group of friends catch up after the suicide of Laura Barns due to cyber bullying. Suddenly a mysterious caller that arrives uninvited starts harassing the group as the ghost of Laura, and they play a twisted game to avoid getting killed.

In the process, secrets and betrayals get revealed and the group turns on each other. The internet also turns on them as many of the foul things they’re done get exposed in a way that they would be unforgiven and trapped in their consequences. This is a fear that’s relatable to anyone who has a persona online.

2. Alien Covenant

The android introduced in Prometheus, David 8, becomes obsessed with creation by the event of Alien Covenant. He wiped out the indigenous population of beings on a planet and then experimented with the altered wildlife and the black goo, ultimately creating a form of creature like the xenomorph. He also has evil intentions for the humans onboard the Covenant to continue his work.

1. The Terminator

One of the major codifiers of technology in horror. The main premise of The Terminator is that an artificial intelligence known as Skynet has power over the entire world’s defense grid takes control and turns on humanity. Led by resistance hero, John Connor, Skynet was defeated but not before sending terminators to the past in hopes to eliminate certain targets to change the outcome of their war.

Skynet is the greatest fear of humanity manifest, being a construct made to protect and serve. Instead it subjected and demolished humanity and left the survivors to be hunters by the very machines made to defend them. This is why The Terminator in spite of the increased action can still qualify to be an effective horror film with a fear of technology and its unpredictable potential.


Megan is Missing (2011) Official Trailer

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Guillermo Rosario
An enthusiast of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I loved reading about the stories and worlds of video games and movies and writing on a multitude of subjects, from lists to reviews.