Settling down to watch a straight-to-DVD horror flick can be a risky business, as for every decent movie there are a string of dodgy ones.

And then you get those that not only are not particularly good, but are also pretty annoying to boot – and that is where Playback comes in.

Chock full of annoying characters, annoying dialogue and annoying plot developments, the whole thing is – well, annoying really.

The film starts off well enough, with a gruesome opening as nutjob Harlan Diehl sets about slaughtering his family in their home – all on camera of course.

He is then gunned down by the cops, but only after ‘transferring’ his evil into the video camera he was using.

Fast forward a number of years, and we join an extremely irritating group of media students who are producing a documentary of sorts regarding the murders.

The lead, Julian (Johnny Pacar), also has a mate who works down at the local TV station, allowing him access to the raw footage from the time of the crimes.

And this is when things go haywire, as watching the footage unleashes the spirit of Diehl, leading to carnage all round.

I know what you are thinking – evil emerging after watching an old video tape, that’s ‘The Ring’ right?

Well, the makers of this think they are cleverer than they are, and indeed have a character mention The Ring early in the movie, as though that lets them off.

It doesn’t.

As if all this wasn’t bad enough, for some reason Christian Slater pops up as a sweaty, paedophile police officer who uses cameras to spy on some of the students.

His role serves no real purpose, other than to give the filmmakers the opportunity to put a name on the DVD sleeve.

There are some neat effects, and at times it looks as though the film may go down an interesting route, but a barrage of bad performances, poor scripting and a series of leads that you simply cannot wait to see die ensure that Playback is a movie you would certainly not want to see more than once.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.