Written, edited and directed by Brett Young
A young guy (Thom Mackie) is sitting comfortably in his apartment watching football on the television when his telephone rings. Answering the phone, a stranger’s voice warns him that “the man in your apartment is not who he seems. The crooked man says where there was once one, there are now two. ” Upon questioning the creepy stranger on his identity, the mystery caller replies, “We’ve met before, in your apartment.” After the conversation turns threatening, the man hangs up and warily opens his door. He finds an envelope outside containing a DVD. Curiously, he puts the disc into the DVD player to watch the footage but what unfolds is something neither he or the viewer anticipated, unlocking more than he bargained for.
Shot in 8 hours on a Canon 550D with a shoestring budget of £10, PLAYBACK is a tense 6 minute thriller that says little verbally, but a lot visually. If you’ve ever seen those images within images, known as the Droste effect after the great Dutch chocolate adverts, then you’ll begin to understand the trippy loop which occurs within this cleverly shot piece. This is merely the beginning though and nowhere near explains what the hell is happening, only that bad things have been set into motion with no foreseeable solution. I personally love films like these, that don’t exactly tell you what is going on but give you enough clues to try and work it out for yourself. Do I have a theory? Not really, but I sure doubt that things will get better for the single man in his apartment and that’s what’s terrifying about it.
As with Brett’s previous work, the short film is incredibly well shot and edited, with the lingering camera angles adding to the claustrophic nightmare scenario, as does the aforementioned Droste effect technique. Even before the film really begins, we are treated to an ominous empty hallway scene that predicts a foreboding occurence. The added phrases of dialogue, though a couple of sentences, are used to great effect too. With realistic practical effects from long-time collaborator and co-producer Gavin-Lee Pate, the plot thickens as the film progresses, becoming even stranger and frightening with every frame.
If you like your films weird and strange, then definately check out PLAYBACK. It’ll grab you like a rabid dog and won’t let go until it’s infected your very mind and soul.