At the moment, films are trying to find more and more inventive ways of staying relevant and getting people into the cinema. This has largely resulted in a deluge of remakes, reboots, reimaginings and sequels. While some of these films have been enjoyable, they don’t exactly showcase a whole lot of creativity. New and affordable technology has enabled many to start their own web series’ and showcase their own ideas on a budget. The ability to self-promote via social networking sites allows audiences to find series to their liking and subscribe and share with others. The success of films like Catfish, Trust and even The Social Network seem to have led the way into films relying more and more on social networking on screen. What better genre is there for social interaction than horror? It’s arguably the genre where people need the most amont of help. Director D.J. Caruso, who has played his part in the remake trend by directing Disturbia – something of a reimagining of Hitchcock’s Rear Window and has now turned his attention to the social media trend with The Inside Experience.
The concept of The Inside Experience is a simple one, centering on 24-year-old Christina Perasso (Emmy Rossum) who has been kidnapped and is now trapped inside a room with only a laptop to communicate with the outside world. Using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Skype she is able to make contact with friends and family, while viewers attempt to decipher clues to help her escape. Here’s a trailer:
On paper, it sounds like a run of the mill isolated female vs. a mysterious captor film – and that’s all there is to it. Oh, apart from the fact that the whole thing is a massive advertisement for Intel and Toshiba to the extent that the branding is almost jarring at times. It’s like Mac vs. PC on steroids (“Kidnapped and trapped in a dank room, there’s no app for that”). Despite having all the potential to do something different, it plays out pretty much exactly how you’d expect it to. However, it’s the social aspect of the film that is interesting with people banding together to help decode information, search photographs and discuss the goings-on together. Also, there seems to be an attempt to get away from the feeling of a revolving door of dispensable characters by having viewers interact directly with Christina. Emmy Rossum’s performance is pretty good too, considering the limited nature of the production.
So, with it said that The Inside Experience hasn’t ‘quite’ worked, it has still opened the door for more film makers and writers to use social media in order to extend their appeal past the feature film time and get more and more people to watch their films and get attached to characters. The question is, do you think it’s a good idea and would you enjoy films like this?