Eight top-ranked gamers are sent an invitation to beta test a new virtual reality game with a $100,000 prize. They include Soxxx_1 (Carl), Mustang67 (Shelly), Da_Chi3f (Edward), Str8 Shoot3r (Andre), xxAtla5xx (Marco), T3rrorist#1 (Zahid), Reap3r_2000 (Adam), and Slay3rGirl (Taylor). After arriving and changing into motion capture suits, they are scanned by a machine and instructed to put on virtual reality gear. Zahid, a Bosnian Muslim who chose his username ironically, refuses to wear gear that labels him as a terrorist. After he discovers the exit is now locked, Shelly convinces him to play, saying they understand he meant the name ironically.
Once everyone puts on their helmets, a computer simulation replaces the high-tech office building they are in with a post-apocalyptic, war-torn setting. A simulated sergeant enters and explains their goal: Russian terrorists have taken over each floor of the building, and they must clear a path to the bottom, starting at the 25th floor. Although relieved the terrorists are not Muslim, Zahid expresses regret in accepting the invitation, though the others are excited. The first level, a tutorial, is easily cleared, and Andre, a former soldier, takes the lead. The players are soon alarmed, however, when Carl is wounded and says the VR suit’s feedback caused him actual pain. Taylor becomes increasingly panicked and reveals she took her friend’s place. Shelly promises to protect her.
Suspicious of Andre’s military background, Marco accuses him of being involved in the game’s design. Upset, Andre leaves the group and is shot by a terrorist who has respawned. The others find his body and realize their VR helmets have been programmed to deliver a lethal shock on their character’s death. Zahid asks Carl to smash his helmet, which he can’t remove. Before they can get the helmet off, the sergeant enters the room, beats Zahid, and warns against further tampering. With no other choice, the players descend to the next level.
When Zahid and Carl attempt to break a window, the sergeant again appears, breaks Zahid’s leg, and warns that the next violation will result in death. Zahid, recognizing that the others can not carry him all the way to the finish of the game, stays behind as the others continue. After the players clear several levels, Taylor becomes separated from the others and hides in a bathroom. Forced to defend herself, she kills a terrorist solo and becomes more confident. At the 9th floor, the sergeant reveals a captive terrorist and instructs the players to torture him for information. Edward volunteers, and, after several jolts of electricity, the captive gives up a password. When Adam inputs it to a computer console, it arms a bomb in the basement and starts a 30-minute countdown. Marco becomes aggressive toward Adam, whom he blames for making their situation worse.
Marco and Adam descend further while Shelly, Carl, Edward and Taylor continue clearing an upper level. Marco uses Adam as bait for the terrorists, leaving Adam to die when he is shot. When the others reach his position, Marco kills Taylor to take a medical kit from her. Seeing “Atlas” written in Taylor’s own blood, Carl attacks Marco and damages his helmet, causing the sergeant to walk in and kill Marco.
Carl, Shelly, and Edward descend to the basement floor. After taking out 4 terrorists, one terrorist (the game’s boss) with a bipod-mounted machine gun shot both Carl and Shelly. Carl sacrifices himself to save Shelly by using the group’s last medical kit on her; she holds his hand as his helmet kills him. As that happens, Edward takes out the machine gunner with a rocket launcher and stops the countdown just before it goes off. Shelly watches Edward recite the Sergeant’s victory speech, and realises he knows it by heart, meaning he must be the inside guy. The graphics lift and security guards enter the room, tranquillising Shelly. She wakes up earlier than expected to see the others being body-bagged, and Edward tells her that she’s won, giving her a large bag full of money. When Shelly threatens to reveal Edward’s involvement in the murders, he
says nobody will believe her. Shelly instead is able to inject the guard with the tranquilizer and grabs his pistol, killing the remaining guards in a firefight. Edward appeals for mercy and offers her more money, but she is insistent that this must never happen again, shoots him, and leaves without the money.
science fiction thriller
Directed by Charles Barker
Written by Charles Barker
Produced by –
Matthew James Wilkinson
Cinematography John Lee
Edited by Tommy Boulding
Music by Tom Raybould
Red & Black Films
Distributed by Altitude Film Distribution
Release date – 5 April 2016 (BIFFF)
Running time – 90 minutes
Country – United Kingdom
Language – English