DiE PHONE: An aspiring social media influencer and her doting “photographer” boyfriend’s magical getaway to Joshua Tree is interrupted when they find a cursed cellphone that offers “Insta-Fame” at your fingertips but turns its users into demonic versions of themselves.

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“DiE Phone” is an homage to B-horror movies that offer social commentary. John Carpenter’s “Christine” is one of my favorite genre films that used the symbolism of a “killer” car to represent our hopes, dreams, desires and identities. The modern equivalent of a “killer car” is a cellphone. Where we once needed a car to get away from our present, we now use a phone to take us away to anywhere but here.

A cellphone is only a tool (or in this case a weapon) that I use to tell a “Black Mirror”-esque parable about the transformative and highly destructive power of social media. We assumed that apps like Instagram were designed as a way to show others the world through our eyes, but every time we open them, we’re reminded of who we aren’t. Social media is an easy target, but I enjoy situating the demonic within the mundane, and “DiE Phone” is catchy AF.

As an indie filmmaker I have to think big, execute small. Whatever I write, I have to be able to shoot with a small budget, skeleton crew, etc. I envisioned Joshua Tree as the perfect setting to tell a contained story like this. The mystical open space, with its dramatic landscapes, epic sunsets and bizarre, Dr. Seuss-like trees is ideal for letting your imagination run free, snapping a selfie or making a supernatural horror movie.

The consumer culture themes within this story aren’t profound, but they’re relatable. Who hasn’t engaged in sociopathic behavior “for the ‘Gram?” “DiE Phone” will be worth making if it helps you remember that “sometimes you will not know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Words to live by … and I saw it on someone’s Instagram bio.

— Writer/Director Patrick Green