Dusty Harlan is driving and halts at a stoplight. He eats a burger and two girls take a video of him and laugh. Dusty finally asks them to delete it but they walk off, still laughing. His niece Chloe gets in and confirms that Dusty still doesn't have a job. She hangs up on her father and hugs Dusty, and tells him to start driving. He puts on retro music until Chloe convinces him to put something else on. Dusty lets her choose the movie for their movie night, and Chloe suggests something less retro.
Uncle and niece go to a theater showing a movie Chosen, in Cinethrax. Dusty is less than thrilled that they're going to a teenybopper movie, but reluctantly goes in with Chloe. As they wait in line, Chloe says that the theater got the new Cinethrax format and starts texting. They pay $57 and get their special glasses, and Dusty complains about the high-tech ambience. He tosses his glasses away and reveals the glasses that he brought. Dusty explains that they're "shifters", which flatten 3D into 2D, and gives her a pair. Chloe refuses to wear them and Dusty admits that they'll make her look weird, but she shouldn't let people shame her into normalcy. She reluctantly agrees and goes to get the seats while Dusty gets food. Two girls watch him and snicker.
Dusty finally goes into the theater and sees Chloe talking to a boy, Zach. He offers Chloe gum, and Dusty interrupts them. Zach quickly goes up to the projection booth where he works, and Dusty suggests that they move. Chloe prefers where she is because it has more space, just as the two girls, Brie and Alexis, sit down with Chloe and she introduces them to Dusty. Dusty asks what is going on, and Chloe tells him that she just wants to hang out with the cool girls and they know Zach. She suggests that Dusty sit alone, but he agrees to sit behind Chloe next to a cosplayer and she reluctantly agrees.
Zach goes up front and introduces the movie, and Chloe tells Brie that he gave her some gum. Meanwhile, Zach asks everyone to turn off their phones, put on their Cinethrax glasses, and open their minds. Brie comments about the retro shades Chloe has, and Chloe quickly puts on the Cinethrax glasses. Everyone else but Dusty puts on the Cinethrax glasses as well. The movie begins and everyone but Dusty reaches for the apparently 3D images. Dusty puts on his shifters and figures that it's going to suck.
As the movie continues, Dusty notices something moving in the background. Alexis's phone rings and Dusty clears his throat to get her attention. She ignores him and Dusty tells her that there's no distracting, and Brie argues with him. Chloe reluctantly sides with Dusty and Alexis turns her phone off. Zach walks through the theater, and Dusty notices the screen moving and asks to borrow the cosplayer's glasses. When he refuses, Dusty asks Chloe to put on the shifters and tell him what she sees. She refuses and Brie tells him to shut up, and Chloe tells him not to ruin it for her.
Dusty sits back and watches in horror as a giant tentacle emerges from the screen and slithers through the audience. No one else sees it, and the tentacle slithers toward Dusty's feet. He quickly pulls his feet up and drops his shifters, and the tentacle disappears. Dusty reaches down and picks up the shifters, puts them back on, and still doesn't see the tentacle. When he looks up, the tentacle is right in front of him and grabs him by the face. It yanks off the shifters and retreats, and Dusty screams.
Everyone in the audience jumps and Chloe tells Dusty to calm down. Zach comes over and asks if there's a problem, and takes Dusty to the lobby to discuss it. Chloe reluctantly goes after him, and Zach and the usher Arnie claim that it's just Cinethrax. Zach says that he's the manager and points out that no one else had a problem with the projection. Chloe suggests that it was the shifters, and Zach asks him if he was wearing unauthorized eyewear. Dusty admits that the tentacle disappeared when he took the shifters off, and finally says that they'll get a refund. Chloe refuses to go with him, and admits that Dusty has been embarrassing her all night and doesn't even care. She figures that he put on the whole stunt, and says that she wants to fit in. Chloe goes back into the theater and Zach offers to put Dusty in a room where he can stay until he calms down. Dusty agrees and they lead him off.
Zach and Arnie take Dusty to the projection room, where a strange alien device is projecting the movie. They tell the ticket taker, Shannon, that everything is fine and Zach will take care of it. Meanwhile, Dusty examines the projection machine until Zach points out Chloe in the audience through the projection window. He says that Chloe talks about Dusty all the time, and Arnie describes a movie where the audience thought a train was coming out of the screen. Zach says that he's surprised Dusty was so surprised, and insists that Cinethrax can be scary but there's no stopping progress so why resist. He offers Dusty a pair of Cinethrax glasses, and asks if he wants to keep being Cool Uncle Dusty or the guy who ran away from the train. Dusty hands the glasses back and Zach, Arnie, and Shannon transform into hideous aliens and grab Dusty by the throat.
The aliens try to force Dusty's head onto a spike in the wall, but he jams his sandwich into one of their mouths and runs. They all gag as one, while Dusty gets out and goes to find Chloe.
Chloe looks back at Dusty's empty seat, while the tentacle slithers through the audience.
In the projection booth, the three aliens scream and their eyes turn white. Throughout the theater, the other staff members briefly transform. Dusty runs down and sees them nod to each other, and he runs back upstairs to hide in a custodian's closet before they see him. He turns on his phone and the ringer briefly goes off, and he locks the door as Zach and Arnie come back. Dusty then calls Chloe but she lets it go to voice mail. As Zach tries the door, Dusty tries to send Chloe a text message to put the shifter glasses on. She texts back telling him to screw himself.
Dusty texts an apology and admits that he was being a dick, and that Chloe is his only friend. He tells her not to let anyone force her to be someone she isn't, especially him, and Zach starts hacking through the door with an axe. Meanwhile, Chloe puts on the shifters and sees a giant multi-tentacled alien on the screen, transforming the audience members into aliens. Brie and Alexis, already transformed, tell Chloe to join them, and Chloe runs out as all of the transformed audience members tell her to embrace the experience. She grabs a cosplayer's sword and hits one of them, and they all flinch. Chloe then runs for the projection booth, fighting her way through the audience members. They finally overwhelm her and put her in a seat and put on the Cinethrax glasses, and a tentacle jabs her in the chest... and retracts in pain. All of the audience members scream in pain as well.
Chloe climbs over the seats to the booth, breaks the window with a fire extinguisher, and climbs in. Dusty is gagged and tied to a chair, and Zach steps out with the axe. He slaps her in a chair and tells her that everything will be all right, and says that they envy Chloe and Dusty for seeing it again for the first time. Chloe begs Zach not to hurt Dusty, and he says that the alien came to make them one. Zach says that he was angry, confused, and alone. He tells Dusty that he doesn't have to be alone, either, and puts the Cinethrax glasses on him. Arnie turns the projector beam on Dusty, and Chloe grabs a piece of broken glass and stabs Shannon in the foot. She then picks up Shannon's knife and stabs the alien in the projector. As the staff members collapse in pain, Chloe frees Dusty and they confirm that they're both still human.
Zach crawls across the floor, saying that they must adapt or die, and a tentacle emerges from his mouth and grabs Chloe. He pulls her to her and Chloe looks into his eyes, seeing the alien covering the planet. As she transforms, Dusty grabs Zach's axe and hits him in the head with it. Chloe takes Dusty's hand and they go out. However, she stops and says that there's nowhere to go and the aliens were right. Chloe tells Dusty that there's nothing to be afraid of and says that everything is all right. The staff and audience arrive, and when Dusty opens the door he sees the alien covering the streets. Chloe tells Dusty to stay and watch the movie, and he'll never be alone again.
Dusty says that he can't lose her, and she sings his favorite song, takes his hand, and leads him back to the theater.. The staff and audience join in, and Dusty finally joins in as well. Once in their seats, Chloe puts the Cinethrax glasses on Dusty and they sit back to watch the movie.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 6, 2017