Mainstream studios are already exploiting virtual reality, looking for the next big thing. Now indie filmmakers at Sundance have begun using the technology to enhance hard stories on social conflict, including police shootings and sexual harassment. But is VR just another gimmick?

It’s also interesting to wonder where the format could go from here. For an indication of what could lie ahead, look no further than Defrost, an interactive short that premiered at Sundance. Directed by Randal Kleiser (the man behind Grease and The Blue Lagoon), Defrost puts you directly in the head of a woman waking up from years in cryogenic freezing, and we watch from her POV as she is informed of her situation by sinister doctors.

Defrost clocks in at only four minutes long, meaning it’ll likely take years for something of a similar nature to hit traditional feature-film lengths. But its interactive, ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’-style VR storytelling could be a siren song to Hollywood producers on the hunt for fresh gimmicks to lure in audiences. So don’t be surprised if the biggest summer blockbuster of 2025 has you as its star.

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