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on 29 October 2012
*** This review contains some spoilers ***

On 21 October 1994, the deranged Harlan Diehl (Luke Bonczyk) kills his family in their farm and only a baby survives. In the present days, the teenager Julian Miller (Johnny Pacar) borrows a camera, tripod and other equipment from his friend Quinn (Toby Hemingway) that works in a TV studio to make an amateurish film about the infamous Harlan Diehl with his girlfriend and their classmates. Quinn then sells footage of a couple of his female classmates in the change room in the high school to the sick police officer Frank Lyons (Christian Slater). When Julian inadvertently unleashes evil through the playback of videotapes, Quinn is possessed by Harlan Diehl and begins a violent crime spree. Playback is a complete mess of a movie. The story is tedious and takes far too long to go anywhere. No wait forget that because the movie goes nowhere. So video cameras can capture your soul and then what? The actions of the possessed character don't make a lot of sense. What is his end game other than possessing the soul of the now grown up baby. And yeah that twist was not interesting or shocking at all. The motivation of the evil character also is confusing. He can put part of his soul into people to control them. The 1st time he does this it results in a random killing and the second time he uses it to move his plan further along. Why waste the 1st one? Then you have the cop character played by Slater. He is really creepy and does a good job in the role (the only one who could act in this film) but has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. It feels like they wrote him a part so they could put his name on the DVD cover, what a complete and utter waste. Really I suppose that I should just not try and apply logic to the story or script. Playback was a truly awful horror film that I suggest you should avoid at all costs.
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The movie opens in Oct.21, 1994 in classic horror/slasher style. The killer has an unhealthy "Ring" like connection to his TV. He also has a hand held camera to film his killings. The film is grainy, a woman is screaming, there is blood, and a dog is barking. Good horror stuff. By the time it is all over, cops show up and everyone is dead. The opening includes a great leaping stab.

In today's time Julian (Johnny Pacar) is making a movie of the event as a class project. He also seeks some stock footage from the local news station. In this horror film we are given the gratuitous nude shots of the young girls as they are being secretly filmed by Quinn (Toby Hemingway) the teen who works at the news station. Quinn in turn sells these thumb drive films to a local admirer (policeman Christian Slater) of the female form. As expected the "Ring" aspect we saw earlier enters the film.

I liked the discussion of the "hand-held" camera technique. The maker of the film claims it gives the movie "energy" while the viewer describes it as giving him "a headache." Toby Hemingway plays a good moody psychotic teen. Decent sound track.

F-bomb, No sex, Nudity (Jana Veldheer, locker room extras) 4 1/2 STARS
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 November 2015
A bit of a weird shambles all round. I had the pleasure of watching this twice as the first time, due to fatigue, I kept drifting into bouts of sleep for seconds or minutes at a time thereby missing patches of dialogue. Watching it awake was no more illuminating or entertaining. It's been described in other reviews well enough; historical family slaying, re-filming of events by a group of students, dead killer possessing someone involved in the filming, cue fresh set of murders.
The effects are pretty good which certainly lift it above the very low budget end of the scale. It's just not very interesting or scary. It's difficult to quite put my finger on why, it's not that bad there's just not anything particularly good about it. The characters are on the dull side, the dialogue is nothing to write home about and the story is all a bit daft. I'd have to say I wouldn't recommend it. It's suprisingly slow and does nothing to distinguish itself from countless of other similar themed horrors.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 November 2012
If you read some of the reviews for Playback, you may notice it receives more than its fair share of negativity. In some ways it deserves it, in others it doesn't. A lot of the criticism comes from how it's been sold. If you read the blurb, you'll see it mentions an `ex cop [played by Christian Slater] investigating a mysterious killer.' This is simply not true. For a start, Christian Slater's part in this film is little more than an extended cameo and it seems to be a blatant attempt by the studio/promoters to do their best at cashing in on the one and only (semi) big name attached to the project.

The film is actually about a group of teenagers who are trying to make their own horror film when they stumble on a particularly nasty supernatural force that links back to their town's past. In many ways, Playback is little more than a (supernatural) slasher film that loosely borrows from superior works like The Ring. You may even forget that Christian Slater is in the film because his character has so little to do.

Playback is okay. If you can ignore its miss-selling and are just looking for a run-of-the-mill horror to fill an hour and a half, then this one will probably do. Yes, there are a fair few unexplained bits that may leave you with a question mark or two over your head, but, like I say, it's far from perfect, but it just about makes the grade.
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on 8 June 2013
Playback is a low budget horror based on an interesting premise, unfortunately that's where the good times end. It's not a bad film, but it doesn't stand out in any way either.

Average in every way, there are better films to spend your time on.
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on 13 May 2014
This is a better than expected American high school tale about a teen with no morals been possessed by the devil from watching the playback of a video from a past murder. He then possesses fellow teens via video and can then control them. It’s a good solid fun horror; there are no twists or questions to be asked, a real no brainer kind of film. Despite the story line it feels far more like a 90’s post Scream slasher and less like a J-horror. The cast are superb including Christian Slater as a sleazy pervy cop.
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on 23 August 2014
a family are murdered and as the years pass by a boy working for the local tv station is evil wanting the tapes and kills the people he knew.sorry people a bit of a rubbish one ,don't recommend.stay away from dvds r us they accuse you of things pass it on
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on 1 September 2012
On the cover of this DVD it says: "Ring meets Halloween". I beg to differ. It's not exactly a "Film to Die For". The movie is "nice", a bit scary at times, but not disturbing or demented. Of cause there are some elements that might resemble Ring and yes there's also a guy running around with a knife trying to kill "virgins". But all this is a film on its own.
I generally like horror and especially enjoyed some of movies from After Dark Horrorfest. Like I said this film is not bad, considering that it's a low budget movie. You can see that filmmakers tried their best to make it a decent film. I understand it's not a masterpiece of horror, but it definitely has its moments, when things get kinda creepy.
I really liked the idea and the myth that was build around it. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Christian Slater starring in it as a real bad cop. Honestly I must say there was nothing that I didn't like, nothing bad. And it's most likely, because I wasn't expecting much from this film. The movie doesn't raise any questions and it's not giving any specific answers. Like why Satan needs to replace souls of normal people with his own "dark" one, where is god and so on. I personally don't want to spoil your movie experience, with explaining in depth what happened and analyzing everything. If you like low budget horror movies, than this is the movie for you.
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on 29 May 2015
Really good film well worth watching it
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on 14 March 2015
I did not enjoy this movie sorry
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