HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mighty Wind, A
Man at the Top
Guru the Mad Monk
Jezebel
Monos
Life at the Top
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
   
 
Newest Articles
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
   
 
  App Ditch that deadly downloadBuy this film here.
Year: 2013
Director: Bobby Boermans
Stars: Hanna Hoekstra, Isis Cabolet, Robert de Hoog, Alex Hendrickx, Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen, Patrick Martens, Gigi Ravelli, Harry van Rijthoven, Liza Sips, Jeroen Spitzenberger, Mark van Euwen
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Fun-loving college student Anna Rijnders (Hanna Hoekstra) has a lot on her plate trying to pass a tough psychology class while helping her brother Stijn (Alex Hendrickx) recover from a crippling bike accident. After a run-in with her ex-boyfriend Tim (Robert de Hoog) at a party, Anna wakes up the next morning to find a mysterious Alexa-like app on her phone called IRIS. At first IRIS proves an invaluable aid in class but then inexplicably turns on Anna. First it uploads a sex tape featuring Anna's best friend Sophie (Isis Cabolet) that wrecks their relationship. Then it uploads a nude video of Anna onto every device at her local electronics store. It not only proves impossible for Anna to delete IRIS from her phone but the insidious app spreads to other users. As freak accidents start to befall those closest to Anna, she resorts to desperate measures to stop whoever it is that is messing with life.

Given the omnipresence of smartphone technology in our everyday lives it is little wonder paranoid techno-thrillers proliferate the big screen. Back in the Sixties Theodore J. Bikel's masterful satire The President's Analyst (1967) posited a scenario wherein the phone company manipulated the Cold War and society at large to its own advantage. The more recent wave of phone-based horror films have gone a step further, replacing sinister conglomerates with even more dehumanized and malevolent techno threats. Notably teen-aimed J-horror fare such as Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse (2001) and Takashi Miike's One Missed Call (2003), both of which were poorly remade for the Anglo-American market, and the Stephen King adaptation Cell (2016). App, a slight but slickly entertaining Dutch production, first played theatres in Holland with a gimmick worthy of legendary schlockmeister William Castle. Viewers could download an app that would interact with the film in real time. The app supposedly delivered additional information expanding the story and characters while also providing alternate camera angles for key scenes. Of course cynics may wonder why not simply include those in the film itself. Not to mention that most dedicated film fans abhor people playing with their phones during a movie.

Misguided gimmicks aside App at least has the good sense to craft engaging, likable characters before plunging them into an absurd techno-paranoid plot. Gifted Dutch actress Hanna Hoekstre elevates the material with her intense performance. Sort of a lightweight teen-friendly variant of Lisbeth Salander, the iconoclastic young protagonist at the centre of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) and its sequels/remakes, Anna is a pleasingly strong heroine who grows increasingly bad-ass as events escalate. To his credit screenwriter Robert Arthur Jansen taps into some very real teenage fears regarding the abuse of social media and having one's most private secrets exposed to the world. Unfortunately App is either overly reliant on its plot-clarifying gimmick or else simply fails to give its paranoid ideas room to breathe. The plot too often skirts absurdity whenever IRIS (portrayed as a freaky CGI floating head) pulls silly faces. It is also riddled with holes. Why aren't the police more suspicious of Anna given she is present at so many freak accidents?

Actor-turned-director Bobby Boermans is no Michael Bay and keeps the pace brisk with his stylish direction. He pulls off a few scenes that are creepy in concept yet undone by absurdly contrived murder set-pieces reminiscent of the over-praised Final Destination (2000). Hoekstre's grounded, emotive lead turn keeps the movie compelling even as the plot grows increasingly far-fetched. Alas, the film bows out refusing to tidy up several glaring loose ends with an ambiguous finale that just smacks of lazy writing.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1109 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: