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'Banshee Chapter' first film built for Oculus Rift

The horror film was designed for the virtual-reality headset and lets you look around a scene as if you're part of the movie.

An image of a scene from "Banshee Chapter."
Blair Erickson/Jamwix, LLC

A full-length film has been released for the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset.

The film, called "Banshee Chapter," was designed specifically for the Oculus Rift -- making it the first of its kind. The thriller follows a reporter in search of a missing friend who was involved with secret government experiments.

Oculus is one of the most high-profile names in a renewed wave of interest in virtual reality and its headset is widely viewed as the first of its kind to adequately handle virtual environments. The company is expected to launch a consumer model of its virtual-reality headset, which lets wearers step into a virtual world and look around as they would in real life, sometime in 2015 -- though it has yet to confirm a release date. Oculus was acquired by Facebook in a $2 billion deal earlier this year.

So far, the Oculus Rift has been widely viewed as a gaming device. But others, such as "Banshee Chapter" director Blaire Erickson, are exploring more ways to use the nascent technology

Erickson told The Wall Street Journal that, using the Oculus Rift, viewers are able to look around a scene in "Banshee Chapter" and feel as if they're actually in the movie. He said the film and technology are still "early" and "rough," but he expects it to improve over time, according to the Journal.

"Banshee Chapter" is available now as a free download from Oculus Share, a platform for publishing and downloading virtual-reality games and experiences. The film is in low resolution but will continue to be updated as the technology improves.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.