Main cast: Johnny Pacar (Julian Miller), Toby Hemingway (Quinn), Alessandra Torresani (Brianna Baker), Jennifer Missoni (DeeDee Baker), Ambyr Childers (Riley), Jonathan Keltz (Nate), Lisa Jane Todd (Anne Miller), and Christian Slater (Frank Lyons)
Director: Michael A Nickles
It’s hilarious how the publicity materials for Playback make it seem as if Christian Slater has a big role in this movie, when all he does here is to play a dirty cop who shows up in a few scenes, mostly to masturbate while watching footage of young ladies changing. What has happened to the poor darling if these are the scenes that allow him to get top billing in movies nowadays?
The actual plot revolves around a bunch of teenagers, played by actors who are clearly too old for their roles. But hey, if Glee can get away with casting 30-year old actors as high school kids, I guess we can excuse this particular movie for the same sin. We have Julian Miller and his friends who are interested in an incident where a man went on a killing spree, slaughtering most of his family apart from his little baby. Aside from dressing themselves up to look like the murder victims, these kids also attempt to look into the events leading up to the slaughter. So much so that when Quinn, who works at the TV station, finally discovers a tape that is linked to the incident, playing it causes him to be possessed by some evil… thing… that moves on to spread more of the evil thing around.
Okay, the plot sounds stupid, and it is. Horror movies involving demonic possession through audio and video have been around since Evil Dead, and unfortunately for Playback, it seeks to emulate the tropes in those movies without putting in any interesting spin of its own. The death scenes are actually boring instead of terrifying, the scares are few, and the main cast has the charisma of wet planks – good luck trying to set the screen on fire with that one. The best acting comes from Mr Slater, although I don’t know whether it’s a compliment to say that he plays the skin-crawling sleaze too well.
Underneath the demon tape pretensions, Playback is just been another mediocre slasher movie. It just doesn’t deliver, I’m afraid.