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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


directed by Bobby Boermans
Netherlands 2013


After a wild party thrown by her high school ex-boyfriend (Robert de Hoog), College student Anna (Hannah Hoekstra, ARNE DAHL) wakes up with a hangover and a new app on her smartphone: the highly-interactive IRIS personal assistant program. At first, the program is helpful with useful information for her studies and translations of Latin phrases for her philosophy class. The program's idiosyncrasies start with popping up at inopportune times and reinstalling itself when Anna tries to delete it, but IRIS starts behaving in a more malicious manner when it shares compromising video of her roommate Sophie (Isis Cabolet) to all of Anna's contacts. IRIS can also install itself on other phones and computers, sharing video it secretly recorded of Anna in the shower when she tries to have the program removed and humiliating a professor with compromising video taken from his own phone. When IRIS starts threatening Anna and her friends - as well as her brother (Alex Hendrickx) who has an experimental computerized surgical implant to aide his physical therapy after a motorcycle accident - Anna starts to believe that IRIS is not merely a virus but has a mind all of its own.

Although it deals with the horrors of smartphone technology - from the invasive ways that cookies track your shopping behavior to exploiting the privacy concerns that arose over the permissions required by Facebook's messenger program not too long ago - APP feels very much like a nineties techno-thriller when some of the concepts were more abstract to viewers, as well as the various "killer phone" movies from MURDER BY PHONE/BELLS, DIAL: HELP, and more recently ONE MISSED CALL (there's a hint that IRIS might be supernaturally-controlled). It's realization of the technological terror would be outlandish if it all were not so over-familiar from earlier examples as IRIS controls security systems, computer networks, traffic lights, medical systems, and the like to terrorize Anna and harm anyone who tries to help her. Although the film wants to say something profound about technology and human communication, it's really just a silly, outdated-seeming thriller whose real hook is the cinematic exploitation of "Second Screen" technology which syncs the film to the viewer's smartphone to offer "enhanced viewing" from photo galleries to video clips at specific points in the film (the film's introduction includes instructions on how to download the IRIS app which can also be found at iPhone and Android app stores).

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 9 May 2014 (USA)


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DVD Review: RAM Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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RAM Releasing

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:19:09

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.77 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dutch Dolby Digital 5.1; Dutch Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo; English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: RAM Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Bobby Boermans
• Special Effects Featurette (16:9; 2:18)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:46)
• Ram Releasing Trailers

DVD Release Date: 30 December 2014

Chapters 12





Film Movement sister label RAM Releasing's dual-layer DVD features a serviceable progressive, anamorphic presentation of the film with edge enhancement that is evident but not aggressive (possibly resulting from the down-scaling to SD than applied as an "enhancement"). Audio options include very active 5.1 tracks in Dutch and blandly dubbed in English as well as acceptable 2.0 stereo downmixes. Optional English subtitles are included for the film as well as English closed captioning (which is transcribed from the subtitles so it includes lines of off-screen dialogue not used in the English dub and also translates onscreen Dutch text).

Advertised as the world's first "second screen" movie, a sync app is available for download via texting IRIS to a number given in the introduction and on the back of the DVD cover or downloadable from your smart phone's app store (search: "Iris: App the Movie"). It is a large program (the Google Play store recommends that you download using Wi-Fi to avoid incurring additional charges on your data plan) that brings up extra contextual information including photo galleries and clips on your phone while viewing the film on TV.

Extras include an English-language commentary by director Bobby Boermans in which he discusses the differences in social constraints between using "Second Screen" technology in a theater versus home, IRIS as the literal flipside of SIRI, the film's digital special effects, as well as a lot of basic discussion about the film's story construction. A short behind the scenes featurette on the film's special effects is also included, as well as the trailer and preview for four other RAM Releasing titles (as well as the Film Movement documentary A LIFE IN DIRTY MOVIES).

  - Eric Cotenas


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Region 1 - NTSC




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