This is something I just can't see working, even though I admire the novel concept. Dutch horror film APP is inviting audiences to download a free app that "enhances" the film while you watch it. Meaning everyone in the theater will have their phone on, constantly checking it when the film prompts them to.
As per an article in Variety, once the app is downloaded, you'll receive messages and more at the same time as the film’s protagonist, a young psychology student who is terrorized by a mysterious and malicious app called Iris that has appeared on her smartphone. The app also accesses complementary scenes and information beyond what’s on screen.
This encourages the very worst thing about seeing a movie in the theater nowadays - the omnipresent glow of smartphones in the crowd that distracts from what's happening on the screen. And while that's the whole point of APP's gimmick, it's still a concept I personally can't picture working without damaging the bond an audience member tries to forge with the film as it unfolds.
Thankfully, you don't need a smartphone to watch the film, but it apparently helps.
APP hits theaters in the Netherlands on APRIl 4th; its success there (or lack of success) will probably determine the film's rollout across the rest of the globe. High Point Media Group has picked up the international sales rights to the film, however.
Here's the synopsis (which is roughly translated, so be kind):
Modest and intelligent 21 year old psychology student Anna Rijnders goes, after a tragic accident in which her younger brother partially paralyzed, completely on her own into a virtual world. She is addicted to app's, social media and her smartphone. After a wild party of which she can remember little, Anna discovers that a mysterious stranger has installed an app called IRIS on her phone. To her amazement know the smart and handy APP not only knows the answers to scientific and historical questions, but also questions relating to her personal life and that of her friends. Through astute APP cryptic texts and codes received in connection with the sudden mysterious death of people around her, Anna slowly but surely starts to realize that IRIS is more than a convenient app.
Learn more on the film's official site (hope you can read Dutch!).