Sometimes it’s easy to forget that America isn’t the only country in the world pumping out horror movies. In fact, some of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen were foreign (looking at you Ju-on and Audition). So, is App another international classic or a dud?
Well, when it comes down to it, it’s not really much of either. App hails from the Netherlands and if you were to break it down, it probably classifies more as a thriller than anything, but hey, us horror fans like being thrilled, too. App is a movie that tries to touch on how much technology really runs our lives in modern day culture but manages to shoot itself in the foot on any real message by a number of confusing plot devices and too much techno babble.
The story is pretty simple. Anna (played by Hannah Hoekstra) wakes up after a party with a new app on her phone. Named “Iris,” it’s basically Siri with a malicious streak running through it. While she enjoys playing around with the app for a while, it soon starts sending out private text messages and airing videos that it took itself. When she tries to delete the app, it gets angry and starts lashing out more violently, taking stabs at her best friend and crippled brother.
Now the movie is mostly well-written (scripted by Robert Arthur Jansen.) The relationships are believable, particularly between Anna and her best friend Sophie (Isis Cabolet), and the normal dialogue is believable and definitely lends itself to the watchability of the film. The phone’s original lashing out is even in the realm of possibility, but once we get halfway through the movie, it turns into Untraceable meets Pulse. Did you see those movies? Neither of them were very good.
Once Iris starts making some serious headway intro wrecking Anna’s life, that’s when things get off the rails and anyone between 18 and 30 just shakes their heads in disbelief of what they’re trying to pass off as plausible. Where sending inappropriate mass texts out seems reasonable, it’s when Iris starts taking over cars and stereos that things get out of hand. To add to the laughable plot point, a confusing sub-plot is forced in about the creator of the app and his dead ex-girlfriend. Things get weirdly supernatural for only a matter of minutes and completely derail the movie.
Bobby Boermans does a good job with what he’s given, from the script and the budget, and the movie is surprisingly well made. I wasn’t expecting nearly the quality I ended up viewing. The real shining star is the beautiful Hannah Hoekstra. Her Anna is strong, confident and ultimately a badass that holds her own (both mentally and physically) the entire length of the movie and if nothing else, you end up rooting for her.
While it was a decent attempt, App ends up being another mediocre techno-thriller that bogs itself down with an outlandish premise and an extreme amount of nonsense dialogue.