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Playback (Blu-ray Review)

9 May, 2012 By: Angelique Flores

$26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, sexual content/nudity and some teen partying.
Stars Christian Slater, Johnny Pacar, Toby Hemingway, Ambyr Childers, Alessandra Torresani.

With a plot that keeps viewers wondering for most of the film, Playback is a little smarter than the average horror-thriller.

In 1994 a young man named Harlan Diehl murders his sister and parents, leaving the quiet community where it took place shocked.

Fast forward to present day. High school teen Julian is an aspiring filmmaker. Mixing his love of moviemaking and a school journalism assignment, he delves into the tragic Diehl murders.

Through his research, Julian learns that Harlan comes from nefarious lineage. His great-great-great-great grandfather, Louis Le Prince, made movies in order to steal people’s souls. By watching the video footage of a particular person, he believed the viewer can take that person’s soul. According to the legend, the demonic soul of Louis moves from body to body, passed down through the generations from father to son via video footage, and is getting stronger through time. The last person possessed by the evil soul was Harlan.

Video footage comes into play in another menacing, and probably unnecessary, plotline wherein Christian Slater plays a peeping tom cop who pays a guy, Quinn, to tape high school girls in the locker room.

Quinn, who works at the local TV news station, also helps Julian with his research on the Diehl murders. Quinn tracks down old news footage from the time, and as he watches it, Harlan’s demonic soul possesses him.

A horror film wouldn’t be a horror film without a gratuitous bloody body count. Here, Quinn is responsible for that. Though it’s unclear what he would have to gain from killing so many people, it is clear that he needs a new body to pass on his demonic soul.

The film intercuts the movie’s storyline with footage from Julian’s horror films, causing some confusion about what is real and adding some excitement to the movie. The plot will keep viewers on their toes, and it takes a while to figure out what’s going on with the video footage. But once you do, the film gives a nice surprising and satisfying ending.

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