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In "Playtest," the psychologically horrifying world of virtual reality is nicely counterbalanced by the sheer likability of the episode's protagonist played by the charismatic Wyatt Russell.
[Shut Up and Dance] stood out more for its presentation and mood than its actual plotting.
Playtest concludes with two flourishes of irony, one situational and one verbal.
With its extra twisty ending, "Playtest" pulls on the heartstrings. The horror romp warns of the near-future dangers of virtual and augmented reality, and the story's protagonist is a likable character - a rarity in the Black Mirror world.
Trachtenberg seems aware of the deeply silly nature of this cautionary tech fable, eventually cashing in on a kitschy, pseudo-Twilight Zone kicker that might feel like cheating - that is, if the journey to "Playtest's" ending wasn't quite so fun.
Playtest ultimately feels awkwardly crafted. Subplots are left unresolved, the side characters and corporate mischief-implications are completely undeveloped.
This one could have had a decent Twilight Zone vibe, because it had good scares, but that actor ruins everything.
Playtest is the perfect fusion of Brooker's fascination with the human condition and director Dan Trachtenberg's knack for psychological horror, served with all the ingredients necessary for another night of blood-curdling nightmares.
It's a genuinely terrifying video game-centric episode that revolves around a new survival horror game, and with this conceit Trachtenberg basically gets the opportunity to make a horror film -- and it's a damn good one at that.
Ultimately, all of those scares climax with an ending that is inscrutable in the best possible ways.
There's a lot of self-awareness in its use of jump scares and tropes that also make this episode hilarious. Playtest is a fun episode.
This one leans very heavily on Wyatt Russell's sheer charisma and likability to work.
A unsettling story that takes advantage of psychological terror, with the occasional scare included. [Full Review in Spanish]