We were a little leary of this because of the debacle that was V/H/S, but we gave Playback a chance. It’s from 2012 and stars a bunch of teenagers (or young-looking actors) plus Christian Slater. Yes, that Christian Slater. The idea of this film is that evil can be transferred through images (not completely dissimilar to Sinister, which you may remember is our reigning butt-puckeringly scary favorite). So here’s the deal: Fifteen years ago, a terrible mass murder happened in this town and a family was wiped out. Now, in present day, a high school student is doing a film project on “The Diehl Murders” for a school project. Local grownups discourage him from digging up bad memories, but he perseveres with the help of his girlfriend and friends in researching and reenacting the crime on video.He gets a guy who works as an archivist at the local TV news station to dig up the real footage of the crime and that’s when the evil is released.
This movie reminded me a little of The Ring with it’s use of video as a transfer device for evil. Not an exceptionally scary movie, but then again, we watched it with the lights on in the middle of the day, so that had something to do with it, I’m sure. I did like the story on how a picture captures a potion of the persons soul, so a motion picture actually captures a bit of them, and the history of the motion picture that was included in the film. Overall, very watchable. Not over the top scary or gory.
This was pretty good. I would have been more scared if we’d watched it at night with the lights off, so I take responsibility for some of the unscariness. Although the film plays with ideas that have been explored before–heck, how many times have we heard the trope about photographs capturing the soul?–it did so in a unique way that also explored ideas of inherited evil. Slater as a corrupt and perverted cop was surprising, but I found myself wondering more about his career choices than really buying into his portrayal. Again, that may be my own personal baggage. This film delivered some good scares. I saw the twist coming, but that didn’t negatively effect my enjoyment. I give this half an Afghan of Doom with the caveat that it probably would be an eyeball-peeker if I’d watched under proper conditions.