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Three movies where webcams play a huge role

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Webcams have become increasingly important in the modern world. As a result, a number of modern movies have featured webcams at the center of their plots. The relative newness of webcams means many of these films are from the last few years and predominantly feature younger actors, such as those in high school or college.

"American Pie"

The film “American Pie” is about a group of teenage friends who are reaching the end of their high school experience. One of the major events in the film occurs when the main character, Jason, decides to try to have a romantic liaison with a foreign exchange student while filming it live via webcam and streaming it to his friends, so they can watch. He has trouble performing during the encounter, and his troubles are accidentally transmitted to the entire school instead of just his friends.

The web cam plays a key plot device in this coming-of-age story since it forces the main character to evaluate himself and his attitude towards relationships. He’s called out for his role as an immature braggart to the whole school. As is often the case with webcams in movies, the device in “American Pie” sheds light on the whole situation and forces characters to deal with reality. The moment is something of a turning point for Jason, who eventually learns to treat sex in a more mature fashion.

"Easy A"

This movie starts with the main character Olive talking into a webcam. The story she tells into it then becomes the narrative of the movie, which concerns how a lie spun out of control. It started when Olive lied to her friend Rhiannon about going on a date in order to have an excuse not to go camping. Instead, Olive spends the weekend completely by herself. Rhiannon then presses Olive for details about the fictional date after the weekend is over. Under this pressure, Olive tells another lie. She says she lost her virginity to a man from college. This lie is overheard, and soon rumors begin to grow. Everyone starts to see Olive as hot, increasing her popularity. Guys bribe her with money to get her to say she slept with them in order to share in her popularity. Eventually, many people get hurt as a result of her lie. That’s when she decides to come clean.
The webcam is central to this movie because it serves as a framework for the whole plot. By the end of the film, you realize that Olive is using the camera to confess to everything that’s happened. It becomes a primary means of confession, and a way for Olive to redeem herself for the web of lies. The webcam shines light on the whole deception in one move. It’s essentially working as a stand-in for the eyes of society.

"Untraceable"

The movie “Untraceable” (watch movie clip) puts webcams in a more controversial light. The primary plot of the film revolves around an FBI agent, Jennifer Marsh, who works with the FBI’s cybercrime division while also being a widow and a single parent. The plot begins with a website called KillWithMe.com showing a kitten being mutilated and killed through a streaming-video webcam. The FBI tries to shut down the website, but the killer has anticipated this, and the effort fails utterly. The site then moves onto killing humans concurrently with the number of hits the site gets. The killer executes his victims in ways that take a while. For example, he kills a newscaster by burning him with heat lamps while the newscaster is stuck in cement and unable to move enough to get to freedom. The maniac also executes a helicopter pilot by causing lacerations on the pilot and then injecting him with anticoagulants to cause him to slowly bleed out until he’s dead. As the movie progresses, the agent is unable to figure out where the killer is transmitting from since there are no real clues as all the murders are done in a featureless basement. But it eventually turns out the killer is angry because his father’s suicide was televised, and he is now seeking revenge on those who broadcast it.

In this movie, the webcam becomes more of a sinister force than in many other movies, which tend to use the device more for social illumination. The film depicts the webcam as an instrument for exposing people’s pain to the public, humiliating them and making them seem less than people. The camera is an alienating force that makes the people who witness these events numb to the lives behind them.

Overall, movies based on webcams nearly always use it as a way to portray society as juxtaposed with the individual. Whether society is shown as being a helpful limiter on individual behavior or as a cruel way to humiliate people really depends on the script and direction of the movie.

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