We've seen viral websites before, but the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes website is viral, in more ways than one.
The website, www.simianflu.com, is a fake CDC-type site featuring extensive information about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' fictitious 'Simian Flu'.
Of course, at the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we saw the chimps literally go ape-sh!t all around San Francisco. However, we shouldn't forget they also spread a highly infectious virus which drastically reduced the human population (which convenient explained how about 40 gorillas could take over the world).
Viral websites are nothing new, but I have to admit this is certainly one of the best ones I've seen so far — namely because it seems more concerned with developing a backstory to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes than thrusting advertising in your face.
Head over to the website to see for yourself, or stick right here for a breakdown.
One of the most interesting aspects of the website is an interactive projection timeline which charts the spread of the virus. The concluding scene of Rise of the Planet of the Apes saw the infected pilot (and all round chimp hater), Douglas Hunsiker, jetting off across the world and inadvertently spreading the Simian Flu.
Although things seem under control in 2011, by 2020 most of the world has been enveloped by the virus, well except a bit of Canada...
And what happens if you catch the flu? Well, unfortunately, there doesn't seem like a whole lot you can do, except it seems, hope you are incredibly lucky. As this video points out, only 1 in 10 people survive the infection:
Is it a peaceful death? Well, it's probably nicer than being pummeled into a paste by a dozen angry gorillas, but it's not exactly a fun experience. This graphic explains why:
You literally start crying blood. Lovely.
But perhaps my favorite thing about the site is the fake Twitter feed scrolling down the screen. I actually thought it was genuine for a while, with fans of the film going along with the scenario. However, it seems to feature pre-written Tweets from various members of the public. Some are becoming paranoid, some are calling for action against the apes, while some believe the entire flu is a conspiracy created by pharmaceutical companies. It's certainly an interesting insight into the world of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Clever stuff. Although Susan Phillips should be worried if the apes ever get onto Twitter.
But ultimately, the most effective thing about this viral site is how plausible it looks. If I had no idea about Rise or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I would definitely be slightly concerned by this mysterious Simian Flu. I mean, I wouldn't rush out and start hording guns and food, but I would certainly take a quick trip to wikipedia.
Once again, if you want to take a poke around the site yourself, head over to www.simianflu.com.
What do you think? Do you like the movie universe expanding off into the real world, or is it still just a movie marketing gimmick? Let me know what you think below.