By Brett Mullins
Written and Directed by Michael Nickles
Two High School students investigate a Michael Meyers-esque murder that occurred in their suburban town nearly two decades ago as a project for their Journalism class. In doing so, they unknowingly release an evil that has been dormant for some time.
Playback is an interesting film in that it drastically switches tones several times throughout. The film opens with quick cuts, brutality, and death (and of course foreshadowing). The following scene features a group of teenagers making a film in a lighthearted manner with soft alternative rock music in the background. This illustrates a contrast of scenes occurs several times throughout the film stopping any building tension dead in its tracks.
On the positive side, the film features convincing performances by Christian Slater, a creepy cop who is into videos of local High School girls, and Toby Hemingway, a student that works at the local TV station as an archivist.
At this point, Playback likely appears to be a technically unsound film with a decent cast; however, this description ignores a certain charm found in the mix. Perhaps it’s the alternative history regarding Louis Le Prince, the ‘Father of the Motion Picture’ or the name dropping of The Ring and Scream. It is even possible that despite all else the story was simply entertaining.
Though Playback follows a bumpy road, it is worth the ride in the end.