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Playback Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 98 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 29th, 2012
  • List Price: $29.98

Overall
[Rating:2/5]
The Film
[Rating:1/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:1/5]

Playback tells a horror story we’ve only heard a million times before. Julian (Johnny Pacar) enlists his friends to help him film a reenactment of the town’s gruesome Harlan Diehl family murders (for some reason). After shooting the footage, thanks in part to the assistance of Quinn (Toby Hemingway), it’s soon discovered that by shooting this, the boys have released an evil spirit…wait for it…bent on evil! Soon, Julian’s friends begin disappearing (mysteriously I might add). This brings in local officer Frank Lyons (Christian Slater) to investigate. Frank must figure out what is going on before this demon entity consumes the whole town. What results is…*yawn* a real dull, unimaginative home-made horror film.

Ever since the Paranormal Activity films came out and literally took audiences by storm, everyone, it seems, is trying to make their own ‘Paranormal’ film. A majority of them absolutely fail, but occasionally a decent one will come along (thinking more Apollo 18). Such isn’t the case with Playback, a wholly bland entry into the horror genre. Where does this one fail so badly? It’s not necessarily the acting (which, by the way, is god awful), nor the direction. Moreover it’s how this movie tries to make us think that we’re seeing something entirely new. In all reality, we’re seeing a Paranormal lite film. The screams while purposely placed in the latter series, felt fake and unreal. The actors seemed almost as if they didn’t want any part of this, only showing up to cash their paycheck. Actually, now that I think of it, maybe that would’ve been a better title. Completely unoriginal, boring and dull.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The film’s 1:78:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded, is quite disappointing. Perhaps due to how dark the film was shot, or the low budget, this transfer rarely shows off any possible strength. Despite this, some of the darker moments do showcase instants of solid detail; however, nothing that is overly consistent. Facial flesh tones are accurate as are contrast levels. Video noise levels are kept to a minimum. The film’s source looks as good as one would expect from a high definition source. All in all, this is a decent effort but is disappointing considering Magnolia’s track record.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The film arrives with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, which fares slightly better than the aforementioned video. Dialogue is well reproduced, even though it does tend to sit on the poorly written realm of film dialogue. Atmosphere, well atmosphere is creepy I suppose or at least that’s the intentions of the sound mixers here. Things like heavy breathing, and whispers do their best to create a sense of fear; however, in all reality there really is no true scary moment found here. Alas, the film itself is dreadfully bad but at least this mix, lame as it is, does attempt to get the job done.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

The provided supplements are shown in HD:

  • Behind the Scenes – Running 7:35, this is your standard run-of-the-mill glance into production on the film.
  • Photo Gallery – 71 different frames are shown.
  • HDNet: A Look at Playback – At 4:43 in length, HDNet provides us with another look at the film’s making.
  • Trailer – 2:14 trailer

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:2/5]

*sigh* Another poorly conceived attempt at horror. Playback isn’t scary, tense or even interesting in any way, shape, or form. Magnolia does their best with the film giving a decent video transfer with a slightly better audio presentation. Unless you must see EVERY horror film made, avoid this one at all costs.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Playback on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download Playback on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B0079ZWU02[/amazon-product]

Purchase Playback on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download Playback on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:2/5]
The Film
[Rating:1/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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