Surveillance and Privacy Horrors in 13 Cameras


Your home is meant to be a safe haven, protecting you from the dangers of the outside world. However, with today’s technology, home invaders can easily find ways to break in without actually breaking in. The 2015 film, 13 Cameras, shows us how the horrors of a home invasion can be made real through simple video surveillance.


In 13 Cameras, a creepy and sweaty landlord, Gerald, played by Neville Archambault, fixes up a starter home and installs tiny hidden cameras around the house, from the shower to the bedroom and even inside the toilet bowl. He rents this house out to a newlywed and young couple, Ryan and Claire (P.J. McCabe and Brianne Moncrief, respectively) and parents-to-be. Gerald constantly watches and gawks at the couple through his television screens as they go about their daily lives, and we experience the creeping horror of 24/7 video surveillance as it invades the spaces we consider to be most private.


There have actually been multiple real-life accounts of non-consenting video surveillance, of course. In August of 2015, a couple in Toronto found themselves victims to this very crime. While watching Netflix, their webcam was hacked and they were sent intimate pictures of themselves in the following days. Any wireless device can easily and unknowingly be hacked and used against you. However, 13 Cameras offers a new perspective on a different threat. Although not exactly common, landlords spying on tenants can be a real and plausible threat – something that can even happen to you.


Writer and director, Victor Zarcoff, does a great job of displaying the right amount of found footage, making sure not to overuse this format throughout the film. The film succeeds in this format, avoiding full Paranormal Activity style and opting for a sense of voyeurism through Gerald’s point of view. Archambault plays a terrific creepy and ominous landlord with his various mannerisms, such as his heavy breathing and sparse dialogue. It is also worth noting that McCabe and Moncrief play a believable couple going through the motions of becoming a family. Despite the actors’ noteworthy performances, the film itself seems to lose its plot towards the finale.


Nevertheless, 13 Cameras’ overarching message seems to be clear for any audience. In the modern world of today, technology plays an important part of our daily lives. However, there are always those who use technology for much more threatening reasons and it’s important to be aware of the lengths someone will go to in order to invade your privacy. If you have a security system it’s always smart to avoid reusing passwords, or using strong password generators like this site suggests, plus keeping your system software up to date and being aware of the cameras on your electronics, such as on your phone or laptop, in order to safeguard against malicious intruders.


Gerald is a huge example of a threat you can’t see and it is important to be aware of sure-fire ways to protect yourself against an invasion of privacy in your own home. When Gerald is shopping for cameras, the store clerk rambles on about how tiny cameras can be nowadays, illustrating how easy it can be for someone to spy on you. So, be careful the next time you’re watching Netflix or deciding to rent a place to live. You never know who may be watching.