Dutch Thriller “APP” Wants You To Download Evil A.I.

on Wednesday, Feb. 19th

What if I told you there was a movie coming out where you needed to keep your phone on to get the full experience?

No, this isn’t a personal note for Anil Dash, this is about the Dutch thriller APP, which is getting a U.S. theatrical run thanks to RAM Releasing, a new distributor. (Watch the trailer over at Indiewire.)

APP has an interactive layer in the form of a smartphone, um, app called IRIS–so-named because it is SIRI, backwards–which listens for audio cues as the film unspools. (ID NOTE: film no longer unspools because we live in a digital age. Set feels to sads.) IRIS is also the name of the evil phone app that torments the protagonist after showing up on her phone one morning. The cues trigger an interactive moment on the audience member’s phone, so that IRIS’ malice can spread into the real world.

Unfortunately I don’t think “demonic iPhones” are covered under Obamacare.

One question the trailer for the film raised for me: why doesn’t our heroine just smash the blasted phone with a hammer, take it to the local Genius Bar and say she dropped it? Boom. Plot crisis solved.

People are way too attached to their phones if they’re not willing to destroy them when they get possessed by technodemons. Perhaps director Bobby Boermans is the next Paul Verhoeven, Dutch master of sci-fi satire. That or the “idiot ball” is now the “idiot phone.”

Finding a way to incorporate a second screen into a theatrical experience is something groups as disparate as Disney and the Dallas Opera have been trying to crack. Someone is going to do it right one day, probably. Odds are that then end product won’t have the story pacing of a traditional movie any more than a video game or a webseries does.

Second screen experiences will demand their own flow, and APP will be worth checking out just to see how Boermans goes about approaching the problem.


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