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Christian Slater in Playback. Fontenay Films Ltd.
Christian Slater in Playback. Fontenay Films Ltd.


Two stars is quite generous for lame horror thriller Playback.

Director: Michael A Nickles
Starring: Toby Hemingway, Christian Slater, Alessandra ­Torresani, ­Ambyr Childers

Notorious for being the lowest-grossing US theatrical release of last year, Playback took less than US$300 (Dh1,102) in its one-week run. It is tempting to declare this gory horror thriller a misunderstood cult classic - until you actually sit through it.

Frustratingly, there is the ghost of a great film at its heart. It opens with the enjoyably absurd theory that the real-life 19th-century cinema pioneer Louis Le Prince was a demonic killer who continues to pass evil through the camera.

However, this potentially rich angle is soon forgotten in a bloodthirsty contemporary yarn featuring a film archivist (Toby Hemingway), a crooked cop (Christian Slater), lots of violent death and underdressed young women. An intriguing premise, but the execution is too sloppy to rise above train-wreck curiosity status.

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