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AITH checks out the choose-your-own-adventure thriller Late Shift!

late shift chose your own adventure tobias weber joe sowerbutts interactive kino industries

How many of you remember “Choose Your Own Adventure,” the series of books where you could decide the fate of the characters you were reading about? Now imagine enjoying that experience when going into a feature film. What would you do if you could actually decide what the actors on screen were going to do, and see the outcome? When movie theatres are desperate to try and find new ways to bring in a paying audience, this is one avenue that shows a bit of promise. And this year, Kino Industries has made this kind of movie going experience possible. And last week, I had the opportunity to enjoy a brand new way of watching a flick where I could help decide what happens in the story.

The film in questions is a heist thriller called LATE SHIFT. In the feature, Joe Sowerbutts plays Matt, a parking attendant on duty for what should be a quiet shift. Things are not what they seem however when he finds himself involved in a million dollar heist along with the mysterious May-Ling (Haruka Abe). Throughout the film, the audience in attendance were given several choices. For example, should Matt walk away, or should he believe May-Ling? The fun in the experience is making that decision for him. With 180 questions, and 8 different endings, watching LATE SHIFT is definitely an original film going experience. Even if the film itself isn’t anything terribly special.

late shift tobias weber joe sowerbutts chose your own adventure kino industries

As a regular movie, this is slightly difficult to properly review. The version we saw - thanks to the choices we as an audience made - is a bit of a let down when it came to the finale. However, this is not because of the quality of the film but rather the choices we made to get to that ending. Yet one thing the feature has going for it is a charismatic lead courtesy of Mr. Sowerbutts. If you are going to go on an unexpected ride where we rely so heavily on the lead, it helps that he is interesting enough to warrant taking the journey with him.

Directed by Tobias Weber - who co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Robert Johnson - this is a slick tale of a good guy put in a bad situation. The performances are solid, as is the look of the film. However, if this had not had the extra advantage of letting audience members decide Matt's fate, there wouldn’t have been much special about the story. Yet, having Matt narrate his experiences, and constantly questioning how he should move forward works so well with the the way they have presented this entertaining bit of escapism. 

late shift tobias weber joe sowerbutts chose your own adventure kino industries

What is even more impressive than the idea of a choose your own adventure flick is just how smoothly it works. Once the audience sat down for LATE SHIFT, we were asked to upload the app “CtrlMovie.” You may be thinking that pulling out your phone during a movie is a terrible idea, so an entire audience with phones out would be very distracting. Surprisingly, it wasn't. The app is very simply designed. It is a black screen, and when the movie presents a choice to make - by revealing two small pop up buttons on screen - you find that your phone presents two options in a quick and easy way. You have approximately 30 seconds to make a suggestion and it's an easy thing to do. Just push the desired option. What is even more impressive is how seamlessly the feature film incorporates the answers without stalling.

While this kind of big screen technology may be a couple of years away from hitting your local cinema, you can expect to hear more about it in the future. Not only can the experience be in theatres, but it will also work for other select platforms including smartphones and tablets. From my own experience, I had a great time taking a ride with LATE SHIFT, and yes I would love to revisit it. With technology courtesy of CtrlMovie and Los Angeles-based Silvatar Media - headed by Scott C. Silver and Chady Eli Mattar - Kino Industries may have discovered one of the most creative ways to bring moviegoers a fresh new way to watch a movie.

For more info on the film, check out the official website here.

Extra Tidbit: Do you think a choose-your-own-adventure style movie experience would appeal to you?
Source: AITH

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