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When a group of high school students dig into their town's infamous past they unwittingly unlock an Evil that corrupts and destroys them. Possessing its victims through video playback and using them for malevolent purposes, it closes in on one specific soul, threatening to expose the town's deepest, darkest secret. Written by
In the intro, some guy beats up a girl, we see a woman in a bathroom with her throat slashed, the girl screams about her baby, he kills her and grabs the baby. Now he's doing all this while filming it. When the cops arrive, they shoot him--the camera right next to the baby.
Years later some high school kids work on a film project for class recreating the killings. There's the main kid Julian, his gorgeous girlfriend, another couple that are friends, and some other girl. Lending them some equipment is a creepy kid Quinn with a creepy van who works at a TV station. He has some deal with a corrupt cop and provides him with peeping tom videos of high school girls.
One day Julian asks Quinn to find him some of the real life footage of the murders from the intro. Quinn with the help of the cop finds some and looks at them. Something happens to him while he watches. He develops some power to affect others by touching the TV screen that is focused on them. In that fashion, he manages to turn two girls into killers, as well as killing them afterward. His face also starts to rot.
Another issue is relevant. The first guy to have taken a picture and movie footage was thought to be demonic. Both Julian and Quinn see the footage. We also discover that the killer from the intro is a descendant of the early filmmaker.
Julian's mom is a cop and starts snooping into what Julian is doing, when he discovers a secret. Of course Quinn will flip out and attack Julian and his girl.
Playback goes beyond most movies of its kind. It could easily have focused on the serial killer and family issue or on the evil film pioneer, instead it combined both, but doesn't make these relevant enough. There is also an interesting twist in terms of the identities of some of our main characters, but it too could have been filmed in a way that the revelation is more powerful. Acting is alright for a B movie. Slater gets a short and not very relevant role. Ambyr Childers is gorgeous. The problem is though that the writer/director is a better writer than he is a director. Playback is enjoyable but clearly there was more potential in the story.
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