Once upon a time, in a land of wired phones far away in the relatively recent past, getting lost in the woods meant almost certain death at the hands of an axe-wielding inbred hillbilly maniac cannibal – and no-one would ever know what happened.
Lost in the woods
This horror film standard has been changing for a while now, thanks to the prevalence of mobile communications and widespread 3G network coverage. Horror filmmakers were required to work around the fact that victims were just a phone call away from help almost anywhere in the world, and they’ve done this most often by writing mobiles out of the narrative completely. It’s become cliché for a horror film to include a brief scene at the beginning in which one or all of the ‘victim’ characters discover their mobiles don’t get any reception (see The Hills Run Red and The Children for two of the more clever mobile workarounds out there). Separation from society and emergency services has to be maintained to foster an atmosphere of isolation and a sense of sole survival – there’s a reason the ‘cabin in the woods’ is such a popular trope, after all. But new technology on the horizon may very well end horror filmmakers’ ability to ignore mobile communications any longer.
Keeping us connected
Iridium – ‘the world’s only truly global mobile satellite communications company’ – recently announced the Iridium GO!, a portable device that provides ‘the first ever reliable global connection for voice and data communications’ for smartphones. This is great news for the executives, diplomats and pilots they list as ideal consumers on their website, but the remote residents and holidaymakers they also mention could have real impact on the horror film industry. What will happen to the university students staying in a remote cabin in the woods if they can easily call the police? Nothing bad, that’s what. Talk about a hella boring film.
A horrific outcome?
However, necessity is often the mother of invention, so perhaps we’ll be seeing far more interesting workarounds (or even incorporation?) once horror filmmakers can no longer simply ignore the implications of a mobile phone in every pocket. We suspect isolation will remain key to a good horror film, and we look forward to a new era of creativity in the face of an increasingly connected global society. Or not. We’ll see.
Even if you end up stuck in a cabin in the woods with a dead mobile and a twisted ankle, Epicentre’s compatibility testing services will ensure you can access your first aid app on your companion’s phone. Please contact us to find out more about how we can help you.