Playback. Film Review


Starring: Ambyr Childers, Toby Hemingway, Johnny Pacar, Christian Slater

Director: Michael A. Nickles               

Screenplay: Michael A. Nickles

Rating: 15

Duration: 98 mins

Reviewed by Guy Adams

Playback is full of interesting ideas, sadly none of them seem to be writer and director Michael A. Nickles’ own. In an interview publicizing the movie he said “I wanted to make a film that was aware of – and respectful of – its predecessors but also one that could have a bit of fun with that awareness.” Which is a laudable enough aim, certainly, and he puts his influences onscreen (everything from Ringu to Peeping Tom getting a suitably blatant name-check). Sadly the whole is not the sum of its parts and the entire affair has a workmanlike, plodding feel to it that never scares us or engages us. He also says he wanted the film to have a sense of humour which is strange as it doesn’t. It’s a dreary, miserable affair, altogether lifeless.

The idea of Louis Le Prince, arguably the first filmmaker, haunting a piece of film and infecting those that watch it is viable enough (and familiar enough) but it’s never given legs. All we really have is a gaggle of slightly unlikeable teens hanging around until they eventually get bumped off. Oh, and Christian Slater “starring” in three scenes, two of which show him masturbating to stolen footage of the local girls getting their kit off. We must wonder which is more cursed, the video or Slater’s career. A shame as he’s worth better than this.