Social Media is the New Horror Icon

By Samuel Boyd

Hashtags are the new machetes for horror films. – Photo Courtesy of Movie Pilot

Over the last couple of years, a trend in movies has reared its head as if to say, “Hey, we’re adjusting with the times.” And that trend happens to be the rise of social media as a major character or plot point in movies. Ever since websites like Facebook or Twitter have become prominent in the common person’s life, it seems like a film comes out every year to almost highlight the “evils” of social media.

That’s right: social media has become the new Freddy Krueger, the new Jason Voorhees. Social media has become the horror icon we’ve been waiting for.

Now personally, I think this craze started in 2010 with the documentary, “Catfish.” For those that don’t know, “Catfish” is about a man discovering that the “girl” he has been dating online may not be who she says she is. As this article briefly points out, the movie took the world of online dating and made it extremely unsettling. And honestly that real-life story is terrifying in itself.

After the success of the documentary, Hollywood had to have taken notice of the money it made (after all, these are the same people that seemed to make almost 100 “Saw” movies due to its economic “potential”).

So now we’ve seen movies such as “Unfriended,” “The Den,” “Smiley,” and “Megan is Missing,” just to name a few. All of which feature some sort of antagonist out of different social media outlets.

And why is it so scary that we keep coming back to it? Because social media is our daily lives and it makes sense for us to be afraid of it. The average individual with an Internet connection checks his/her Facebook every day. Couple that with the notion that we “waste too much of our lives” on our phones and you have a recipe for horror.

So in short, we only have to look at the success of “Unfriended” to figure out why we keep seeing movies like this: Because we like to watch our lives play out on the screen, for better or worse.

Social Media is on the verge of running Hollywood. – Photo Courtesy of 360 Online Marketing



Lloyd, G. (2015). Retrieved from

Yoshida, E. (2015). Retrieved from

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism