When I first got the press release for APP, I was immediately struck by the concept of a ‘second screen film’. In case you’re not familiar with the term ‘second screen’, it refers to “a mobile device used while watching television, especially to access supplementary content or applications” (per dictionary.com). I’ve never heard of a movie using this technology, so I was immediately intrigued. Would it be hokey? Or would it blow me away?
I’m very happy to report the film did the latter. In addition to a solid plot and intense storyline, APP’s second screen application works great, and it adds a whole new level of immersion to the filmgoing experience.
If you are not familiar with APP, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Ram Releasing:
Anna, a student at the University of Amsterdam, lives with her best friend Sophie and balances psychology classes with supporting her brother and his recovery following a traumatic motorcycle accident. She’s never far from her cellphone, and after a night of partying in the dorms, Anna wakes up groggy and hungover only to find that a new app has been inexplicably added to it. Initially helpful and clever, IRIS soon begins behaving mysteriously, answering personal questions it shouldn’t know the answers to, and sending inappropriate images to her contacts. When it becomes clear she can’t simply delete the unwanted evil app, Anna’s efforts to confront it will set in motion a fearful series of events that will put her life, and that of her roommate and her fragile brother, in fatal danger.
APP is the first film made with the intentional inclusion of content on a second screen. The movie’s free accompanying app, IRIS, that audiences are encouraged to download, is equipped with sonic technology that triggers additional content during the movie, enhancing the viewing experience in real-time as the plot unfolds.
I can’t say enough positive things about this film. The premise is one that could potentially happen someday in the future, therefore there are no issues with realism here. The acting is top notch, the special effects look good, and there’s plenty of tension. You can’t ask for much more out of film.
APP is shot well and looks great from a technical standpoint. The cinematography is not very noticeable, however this is a good thing; the engaging plot and mystery draws the viewer in so deep, everything else takes a backseat.
The second screen application is the big winner here. It syncs itself up to the film when you start it, and then it self-activates at specific points during the movie. In addition to several extras, you also get to enjoy certain scenes from two different perspectives. This is difficult to explain, as you just have to see it to appreciate it. Needless to say, it rocks.
APP is a big win for me, and I daresay it is a groundbreaking spectacle that is a must-watch for your post-New Year’s festivities. I hope future filmmakers incorporate the second screen tech into their films as well. But for now, definitely give this one a look. It hits store shelves after Christmas, on December 30, so make a note.