Heard about the movie Playback (2012)? WHOA WHOA WHOA, STAY WITH ME HERE!
I was doing my online rounds around the holidays and happened to see our trusty old friend Dread Central had news, and the first Red Band trailer for a movie called Playback was up. Huh. I overlooked the fact that Christian Slater had star billing, because the description sounded cool. Also, it was being released by Magnet, who I can usually trust. There’ve definitely been a few clunkers, but because of their release of several exceptionally entertaining and original indie and foreign horror/thriller movies (South Korean, Spanish, Danish), I’ve discovered some real gems. A few crummy ones, but they’ve been the exception rather than the rule. Without even needing to look online, I can name (as the gems that come to mind first) I Saw the Devil, Hobo With a Shotgun, Chaws, Trollhunter, REC 2, Splinter, Tidal Wave, and one of the most entertaining documentaries about movie-making I’ve ever seen, Not Quite Hollywood. Several of those I now own copies of. Sure, for every Tucker and Dale VS. Evil, you might turn over a rock and find a S&MAN, but after hours upon hours of sheer joy and entertainment, who the fuck cares ?
OK! You have now seen everything the movie has to offer. The gore/kills, and I mean nearly every single one. That includes back-story, sense, an explanation of the fates of several main characters, or jump scenes. In fact, I think the trailer even actually shows the majority of the (brief) nudity in the movie…
Slasher movies aren’t my favorite sub-genre of horror movies, but I grew up on as many of them as I did supernatural or monster movies, so if they’re something special, I’ll check them out. I’ve seen some very memorable slashers (mostly either 80s, or purposely made in the spirit of the 80s ‘dead teenager movies’. Hmmm, this here new trailer and description for Playback sounds a little close to slasher territory, and it involves teenagers… but hey, this plot description mentioned a curse! Sounds kind of like it has elements of Asian Horror …there is a cursed videotape (or camera, or footage, a curse, at least) that can cause a demon to possess you, Magnet Releasing (via Dread Central)*? Perhaps there is a dark secret behind all this (there’s that Asian horror touchstone again), and maybe a cool reveal! What’s that, you say? That this movie is gruesome, Magnet? Tell me more!
(From the official Magnet Website) ABOUT THE MOVIE: Julian (Johnny Pacar) enlists his friends to film a reenactment of the town’s gruesome Harlan Diehl family murders for a school project. He asks social outcast Quinn (Toby Hemingway), an employee at the local news station, to assist with video equipment and research. During Quinn’s examination of raw video footage of the Diehl family farm, an evil spirit is unleashed with a menacing agenda. As Julian’s friends start disappearing, local police officer, Frank Lyons (Christian Slater), receives the order to investigate. As the secrets of the past are unveiled, the dark entity threatens to consume everyone in its way.
Here’s an alternate plot summary from the IMDB: When a group of high school students dig into their town’s infamous past they unwittingly unlock an Evil that corrupts and destroys them. Possessing its victims through video playback and using them for malevolent purposes, it closes in on one specific soul, threatening to expose the town’s deepest, darkest secret.
Then I watched the Red Band trailer below. I’m putting up the one I got from Dread Central (now via You Tube) because I’m not sure if the Magnet page has the Red Band trailer or not. OK, here’s the point of this post. You see this Red Band trailer, you get to see everything the movie has to offer, without having to sit through the POS itself. Plus, You Tube even says this one is age-restricted (rare with them), so I’ll categorize this as NSFW (depending on how mellow your workplace atmosphere is, of course).
Okay! You have now seen everything the movie has to offer. The gore/kills, and I mean nearly every single one. Well, I’m not positive you see [SPOILER ALERT] Slater’s head being blown off, though it may be in the super-fast montage of shots at the end that many American horror trailers seem to practically require the last several years. Christian Slater is not the star, the trailer is misleading about many things, but that’s first and foremost. He’s not even a detective investigating the crimes, his only connection is paying “Quinn” for naked jailbait perv-cam tapes from the high-school girl’s locker room. Not a likeable character. Definitely not the lead character, or even close; he’s simply the ‘biggest name’ in the cast. Despite my snarky comment above, I don’t have any real quarrel with his film roles; he can even be pretty goddamned entertaining. Hilarious in Heathers, the Assault on Precinct 13 reboot, and Pump up the Volume, other times he ever played a romantic lead in one movie that I distinctly recall (Marisa Tomei was his love interest) made me cry my ass off at the time that my then-boyfriend, now-husband and I saw in the theater. Here, he does his job as best he can with the weak material he’s been given. I know he was alimony and child support to pay, and probably can’t afford to be picky. It’s probably the way the marketing portrays him as the central figure and hero of the film: this is a pack of lies. not that if he had a more prominent part he could have saved the movie, not at all. The screenplay is a
hot cold mess, chock full of plot holes, terrible decisions (among the characters, that is … well, the film-makers too, now that I think of it), and characters you not only don’t care about, you don’t even feel enough hate towards some of the more vile characters to care if they get what’s coming to them. That’s saying something.
Oh, I don’t have the energy to stomp on Playback anymore, there’s plenty of other online reviews like this one and this one from Dread Central itself, if you want more articulate, traditionally structured info on why and how the movie completely wastes your time than I can muster up. I tried to focus, I really did, but kept picking up my Kindle Fire to see if there was a new Angry Birds update.
I posted the Red Band trailer out of compassion for any fellow horror fans who thought the movie would be worth watching streaming (or God forbid, purchasing for more than a nickel). If you trust me at all, trust me on this: you will not find anything worthwhile in the movie you won’t find in the trailer. That includes back-story, sense, an explanation of the fates of several main characters, or jump scenes. In fact, I think the trailer even actually shows the majority of the (brief) nudity in the movie.**
So enjoy the trailer (not that it’s a non-stop thrill ride, but it is far more enjoyable and time-saving than sitting through the actual movie Playback, and if you’re going to watch something from Magnet Releasing, you could do much, much better. On that note…
Since I prefer to wind any post I can up with some positive vibes, here’s the trailer for the very original creature-feature Splinter (2008) a movie that I highly recommend you check out. It’ a great DVD rental, packed full of extras. Check out the official website, too. If you have the budget and want to support low-budget indies that worked their asses off to successfully deliver the best movie possible to the audience, I even recommend you buy it (like I said, if you watch it online, you won’t get to see all the cool extras). There’s also a VERY original–and scary– monster concept. THIS is how it’s done!
*that I in no way blame Dread Central for. I trust their reviews 9 out of 10 times, and that’s even more than I can say for Fangoria magazine. Sure as hell not blasting Fangoria, either; if a couple of their DVD of the months turned out to be kind of a letdown, Fangoria’s earned every right.
**If you’re really worried you might miss one worthwhile thing, watch the flurry of images towards the end in freeze frame/step forward mode (don’t feel guilty, I’ve done it for many a movie, not to mention teasers and previews shown for the next episode of Breaking Bad, True Blood, The Shield, Spartacus, Battlestar Galactica (when it was still called the Sci Fi Network and seemed to actively care what they aired), and many more.