Starring: Ambyr Childers, Toby Hemingway, Johnny Pacar, Christian Slater
Director: Michael A. NicklesÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Screenplay: Michael A. Nickles
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. Nicklesâ€™ own. In an interview publicizing the movie he said â€œI 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.â€ 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 doesnâ€™t. Itâ€™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 itâ€™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 â€œstarringâ€ 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 Slaterâ€™s career. A shame as heâ€™s worth better than this.