Nobody enjoys the glow from someone else’s smartphone distracting them during a film’s climax. But Dutch filmmaker Bobby Boermans is encouraging moviegoers to keep their phones out during his latest movie, the aptly called App, by inviting them to download a free app prior to watching the movie which displays content synced with the horror movie.
The thriller follows psychology student Anna Rijnders, who is obsessed with social media and finds herself transfixed by a mysterious app, called Iris (not so subtly Siri spelled backwards) that sends her cryptic codes. Any audience with the app will receive the same codes as Anna on their phones throughout the movie, as well as other content that adds another dimension of interaction to their movie-watching experience.
The movie uses digital watermarking, connecting to the phone’s speaker, to send synced content to the smartphones. Using the app is not necessary to enjoy the film, Robin de Levita, chief creative officer of Imagine Nation (creators of the company 2CFilm that produce App) says:
The movie works perfectly without the second screen. It’s a well paced thriller, but there are 35 moments in the movie when you can get additional information or content that will enrich the experience. For example, there could be two people in a room with a bomb ticking, only they don’t know about it. On the second screen, the audience would know how much time is remaining.
Audience members are asked to keep their phones on their lap, which then vibrate when the app has a message for them. How much the interaction actually enhances the film-goers experience – or just interrupts it – will be put to the test in Dutch theaters on April 4th.
See the trailer (in Dutch) below: