Alexandre Aja, cool horror director guy behind Crawl, is embracing the future of novelty filmmaking with every last bit of his being, it would seem. On top of working on an adaptation of Junji Ito’s Tomie for the horribly “young people” focused streaming app Quibi, he’ll now be doing a Bandersnatch for the big screen with a horror project that will allow viewers to dictate the choices the characters make. That doesn’t sound like much fun to me.
Using CtrlMovie technology, his haunted house movie will offer theatergoers choices that will influence the action at pivotal moments via their cell phones–meaning everyone in a dark theater will have their phones out, throwing glare in all directions at all times. Also, people are definitely going to talk about their choices and groan when they don’t get what they want. Also also, you don’t really have control as an individual person with an entire crowd of people around you, so you may end up just watching it like a regular old movie anyway. Also also also, let’s try not to pretend that this is anything more than a new scheme to get people to pay for the same movie over and over again.
I like Aja, but both of his new projects leave me pretty skeptical and underwhelmed. The film industry loves novelty, but moviegoers tend not to attach much. By and large, we still just watch movies on a regular screen in a dark room. I don’t see interactivity changing that. Maybe Aja will change my mind, but a haunted house adventure game sounds like something I’d play on my phone, not pay the full price of a movie ticket to go see.