Throughout horror movie history, a lot of haunted things have killed people. “One Missed Call” killed people through cell phones, “Stay Alive” used video games, and “The Ring” killed you seven days after you watched a VHS tape of “Gore Verbinski’s” student film. “Playback” is a little bit more complex, but the idea’s the same. “Playback” features generations of soul stealing footage started by, actual person, “Louis Le Prince.”
This movie stars Julian (Johnny Pacar) and Riley (Ambyr Childers) as a high school couple researching a group of murders that took place in their town eighteen years ago. Julian is a young filmmaker looking to turn the story into a movie, but he unwittingly unleashes an evil ghost/demon/devil. This evil presence is possessing people to ultimately find the last living descendant of Mr. Le Prince.
Le Prince’s first possessed lackey is the glue sniffing videographer Quinn (Tobey Hemingway). He plants hidden cameras to steal souls and generates a small band of possessed evil doers. I’m not really sure how the physics of this evil spirit works, but it seems to be working for Quinn.
The IMDB plot description says “a cop investigates the case of a missing local teen, though he discovers a dark secret that has been unleashed in his town, and an evil spirit that will stop at nothing to find its heir.” Boy, are Christian Slater fans going to be disappointed. That is nowhere near accurate. The cop they’re referring to is a corrupt pedophile named Frank Lyons (Christian Slater). Most of the promotional material revolves around Christian Slater, but he’s not the star of this film. In fact, he’s not even a central character, nor does he actually investigate the case.
I’m going to be honest. I watched this movie, but I didn’t watch this movie…twice. I did my best to pay attention, but there was nothing in this movie that held my interest. I feel like I can copy and paste a thousand other reviews from a thousand other horror movies and it would apply. The production quality isn’t poor it’s just that this movie is floating in the ether of repetition. They strive for originality when they combine found footage with narrative film direction, but that’s not enough. This movie was a chore to sit through, and I had to put it on again the next day to at least try to form an opinion. It’s a wicked brew of archetypes, predicability, repetition, boredom, stereotypes, monotony and repetition.
I recommend this movie to people who have never seen a horror movie. The casual horror movie fan should also find some enjoyment out of “Playback”, because it isn’t terrible. I just hate it’s lack of originality. Hate it! I’ve never been so frustrated in writing a review, and I wrote one for “The Darling Companion.”
I also have a headache, so I might be unfairly judging this movie due to unrelated pain. Maybe having to think about “Playback” is causing the headache. I’ll never know for sure, but I do know that I’m struggling to finish this goddamn review. How many words am I at? 515!? Damn it. I have a 600 word limit for these things. I usually have no problem surpassing that. Hm, what else is there to talk about for “Playback?” Uh, the acting? It was pretty good. I especially liked Tobey Hemingway. Where am I at now? Shit, 562. I’m going to get some angry comments about this. Hmmmmmmmm? Ahhhhhh? Jump and jack flash, doritos, calculators, tornados, history class, grasshopper, staplers, bathing suit, fast and the furious, what’s eating Gilbert Grape, potatoes, ants, and alpha centauri.