Playback - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Playback Reviews

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June 29, 2016
The sloppy film making and awful acting are ultimately what makes this motion picture almost unbearable to watch.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2015
This is not what one would call a horror classic, to say the least. It's not even what one would call a mediocre horror film. It's, for all intents and purposes, a largely terrible horror film with a somewhat decent idea that it absolutely wasted. To be fair, even if the idea itself had been executed well, let's say a 6 out of 10 in its effectiveness, I don't think the film would've been very good anyway. It's just that everything around it, from the cast, the cinematography, the writing, everything was really working against this film. Let's not kid ourselves, Christian Slater was in this film simply for a paycheck and for the fact that his 'name value' could probably secure some funding for the film. It's very clear that he's there for those reasons and his character, while important in moving the "narrative" forward, isn't exactly necessary. The gore is pretty terrible as well to be honest. It just looks very cheap and B-movie-esque. Not saying that this movie was meant to be taken all that seriously, but there aren't a lot of hints of irony coming from this film, so that's a shame. The acting is pretty much what you can expect from such a low-budget horror film, not very good. It's not that there aren't some marginally talented people in the cast, it's just that the way their performances were directed/edited did absolutely nobody any favors. Nobody's stock improved from appearing in this film, not that it probably would've even if the film WAS good. That's how respected horror films are in mainstream Hollywood, even though it's probably got the most loyal fans of any genre, who are easy to get money out of, apparently. I did like the idea of this man, Harlan's great-grandfather, trying to possess the spirit of his relatives through the use of his films. That's about the only thing I like, that concept, because the execution is stereotypical slasher. I'm not even sure why I gave it one star. It's not like it's the worst horror film I've ever seen, so that's probably part of it. It's still a terrible horror movie and one that I regret watching. Not recommended, obviously.
March 30, 2015
This movie was HORRIBLE!! I couldn't even watch it all.. It was so boring that I kept losing interest every 3 mins
½ February 11, 2015
steta,dobra ideja ima,ama pri kraj preoga vo predvidliv shablon,i sve se uriva :(
½ January 7, 2015
Not even Christian Slater nor a bevy of beauties in voyeuristic situations can save this one. On the surface, Playback is generally enjoyable. The premise is pretty standard for the most part and the kills are decent. Where this film goes off the tracks is first with a found footage thing being mixed into the "normal" footage and having a sort of bizarre Shocker, meets The Ring, meets Ghost in the Machine, meets Taking Lives thing going on. Had the film concentrated on doing a better job of the killer being able to manipulate electronics or removed it completely, Playback could have played as a decent predictable slasher type flick. As it is, it's a messy messy mix of too many characters, too many ideas, and too many wasted minutes of my life. Almost say the film felt like a really bad episode of the X-Files but lacked Scully and/or Mulder to at least make you want to keep watching.
½ January 4, 2015
I suppose there was some sort of commentary on voyeurism in the original concept, but in the end it seems the final concept is "you're watching this so you've just wasted a bunch of time."
October 29, 2014
Nickels misses the mark with this design of voyeurism and possession, unable to launch his idea with an inspiring sense of madness or even basic boogeyman clarity.
October 10, 2014
I think the preview show more scary things than the movie itself. It was a dissapointment for me, I was expecting more scary scenes, bit it lack in short terms. Yeah it had its good moments but at the end it just did not qualify my expectetions. So for this being one horrible horror movie ever made, I give "Playback"an F.
August 7, 2014
Not the worst thing I've seen
July 21, 2014
Started quite interesting but then the original story isn't very sinister and yet boring.
July 12, 2014
I Didn't Find It Terribly Bad. It Went Pretty Close Tho..Partly Because There Is No Narrative.. So You Have To Work Out The 'Video-Tape Posessing Your Soul' Bit For Yourself.
½ March 26, 2014
Very bad movie. Stupid plot, poor execution, no scares, terrible performances, except maybe Hemingway, though even he was fairly bad.
February 20, 2014
One line summary: Muddled film with bad acting and more questions than answers.


The film's first segment is time coded at 1994. There's a few minutes of a bloody encounter where Harlan Diehl films a baby. The filming seems to form some sort of connection. The cops show up. Harlan attempts to flee with the baby, but the cops prevent that. The baby's mother Susie Diehl plunges a long knife in Harlan's back. He throws her down, pulls out the knife, jumps toward her and plunges the knife into her chest. The cops gift him with some bullets on the way down during the jump.

The film flashes forward to circa 2012. A young pre-indie film director, Julian, is looking at replays of his current shooting with his co-stars.

The next segment shows some of the teens in journalism class, playing soccer, planning parties, and doing it all with a slacker attitude. Julian meets Quinn, a man in his twenties who works at a television station (WPZM, Channel 13), to return recording equipment to Quinn. Julian takes the opportunity to ask whether Quinn's station has any records about Harlan Diehl's bloody death in 1994.

What could possibly go wrong here?

Quinn soon finds the Diehl footage from 1994, and has some interaction with it. That is, some supernatural (well, we'll see) exchange. Quinn delivers some illegal recordings of a girls' locker room to Officer Frank Lyons in exchange for cash. Later the same night he delivers footage about the Diehls to Julian at a teen party. He uses the chance to plant a camera in a girl's bedroom.

When Quinn's boss reads him the riot act about the mess in the archives at the station, Quinn kills him. The distinctive piece about the film is that whatever possessed Quinn does so via watching recorded footage.

What is this spirit after? Is there some way to stop it? Will there be a sequel after the next viewing of the strange tapes?


Cinematography: 6/10 Often dark to the point where much of the screen has no content. Full daylight scenes are OK.

Sound: 6/10 Mostly OK, but sometimes the volcanic bursts of loud noise have to be dealt with if one lives anywhere near other people.

Acting: 3/10 Not so good. Many of the actors look like tired people 25 to 30 years old, not teenagers. Example: Pacar was 31 in 2012. This is not Christian Slater's best work by any means. Daryl Mitchell gives the only performance I liked, and the few moments of clarity about the supernatural underpinnings of the film. The +3 is for Mr Mitchell, alone.

Screenplay: 4/10 Has a beginning, middle and an end. However, there is not much in terms of resolution, and the exposition of plot is weak.
½ February 2, 2014
Devilish horror that sadly uses very much out-of-date technology as its way to channel evil energy. The film isn't badly made but there's not much inspiring about the film making either.
January 5, 2014
Playback was bad...and didn't really make any sense. But for some reason I really enjoyed it. Christian Slater plays a really sleazy cop who has a predilection for high school girls and makes deals with a film guy to take hidden videos of them.

Some 'haunted' video uncovered and things get bad.
January 3, 2014
It wasn't too bad, honestly there was some good stuff here, it just needed some serious polish. But definitely worth a Netflix viewing.
December 4, 2013
It's good for a film to be ambitious but this one doesn't really lived up to it even though it promised to be.
November 17, 2013
irritating and not scary
½ August 22, 2013
oh, Christian Slater!
August 15, 2013
As horrendous as I found the plot and the characters, who are essentially disposable teenage typecasts, two specific elements of "Playback" do the most damage. One is a completely unnecessary subplot starring Christian Slater as a perverted cop who pays Quinn to set up spy cameras in the girls' locker room and in the bedrooms of two of Julian's friends, who are hot sisters. The other is a plot twist manhandled by the filmmakers into an indecipherable mess. Part of the problem is that, even though no real effort is made to hide it, no one bothers to confirm or deny what the audience already knows. The rest of it just doesn't make sense, given the characters involved and their relationship to one another. And is it just me, or is there far too much transferring of evil from TV screen to camera to body, along with victims staring helplessly at camera lenses? Perhaps the real lesson here is, quite simply, to look away.
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