Snapchat’s 360-Degree Trailer ‘Don’t Breathe’ Stirs Horror Fans

Sony Pictures Entertainment is the first company to use Snapchat’s newest feature, 360-degree advertising. Last week, SPE released a trailer for their upcoming thriller “Don’t Breathe” through an immersive lens within the app.

The 10-second Snapchat video ad allows users to submerge themselves into a 360-degree version of the trailer, where viewers not only are able to rotate their screens in any direction to expose more of the scene, but can also choose to move forward or backwards as if playing a character in the movie.

“Don’t Breathe” offers an original take on conventional horror movies. The film, directed by Fede Alvarez, indeed has a horrifying plot, but this time the criminals are the victims, and the victim is a bad guy.

Opening in theaters on August 26, “Don’t Breathe” starts off with a group of three young robbers venturing out to the home of a blind war vet (Stephen Lang) to steal from him 300 thousand dollars in cash, which leader of the pack (Daniel Zovatto) promises is in easy reach.

Considering the vet’s disability, the characters—as well as the audience—would assume this would be a somewhat uncomplicated task. Upon arriving at the house, however, the gang quickly comes to a realization
that the blind old man isn’t as helpless as they’d thought. Despite his vision imparity, the man viciously tries to hunt the robbers down, handling a pistol and exploiting his proficient hearing to find them.

In a twist within the second act of the film, a bigger secret reveals itself; it’s a secret that lives in the house and denies the robbers their chance in getting out of alive. Lights off and pitch black, the young thieves and the old man must navigate themselves to safety and championship.

Alvarez, although dealing with more realistic horrors than ghosts and other paranormal elements, is able to ignite a pervasive frightening experience mixed with Hitchcock-esque tension and surprises. But playing a scary movie in front of an audience wasn’t enough. Alvarez and SPE made it a goal to fully throw the viewer into the fear. And Snapchat’s innovative technology would make this a reality.

Social media platforms such as Snapchat and the film industry alike have been streamlining techniques to involve audiences in more hands-on projects and create an effect that utilizes more senses instead of just one. In November, 360-degree videos were added to Facebook. YouTube introduced its own fully immersive clips. Google came out with Google Cardboard, a virtual reality tool that connects to a smartphone to generate a flawless 360-degree setting. Snapchat longed to hop on the VR bandwagon, and on August 9 it debuted the “Don’t Breathe” trailer.

Aaron Whale, SPE senior VP of international digital marketing, said he wanted to team up with Snapchat as it connects millions of users and employs various facets that magnetize millenials.

“Snapchat presents its advertising in a great way,” Whale said. “Audiences increasingly expect more from us and, as a result, digital marketing departments now have more access to provide higher quality content to satisfy this thirst for engaging content through the mobile phone.”

Simply viewing movies is old news. The latest feat is to have each viewer act in the movies themselves—without actually having to do anything except to sit on a couch at home. Snapchat users will be given the chance to delve into the virtual puddle of fear through the “Don’t Breathe” trailer, available until the movie’s premiere on Aug 26.

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Chloe Rehfield

A Manhattan-native, Chloe studies Industrial Engineering at Binghamton University & is a Contributing Writer for Monologue Blogger. When not crunching numbers or tweaking code, Chloe writes for her university's paper and works post-production for independent short films. In her free time, she enjoys playing ping pong with her twin brother and taking care of her two cats.