Indie horror director Alex J. Mann has often woven technology and the possibility of it being used against humans in his short films. We previously spotlighted his film 3 Seconds, which features Snapchat in modernizing the ‘is there someone in the house’ sub-genre of horror.
Mann is back this October with another film about the technology we take for granted, this time an interactive experience which allows the viewer to make choices which impact the plot. The film; ‘Cool’ is about a smart thermostat that tries to sabotage a young couple’s relationship. The choices selected can lead viewers to one of three different endings.
The main inspiration for the film and the thermostat was HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alex’s previous films exploring tech such as emojis in Wink, Instagram in Instawolf, and selfies in ME2. He told us; “Adam texted me after installing a Nest thermostat in his home, saying it would be a good technology to explore in one of our films. We had already done a lot of work in the tech thriller space, so a smart thermostat that sees, listens and learns made for a fun antagonist.”
Many of us might remember the Chose-Your-Own-Adventure concept from books in the 80s, but it has roots much earlier in horror history. Legendary director William Castle allowed theater audiences to choose the endings to some of his films, and the increasing interactivity of smart technology is seeing the concept make a return online.
“I like that it makes survival the viewer’s responsibility, not the filmmaker’s. It becomes more like a game – can you make it out of this film alive?”, Mann explained.
You can check out, and participate in this new horror film below.