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DVD Review

DVD cover

Panic Button


Starring: Scarlett Johnson, Michael Jibson, Jack Gordon, Elen Rhys and Joshua Richards
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 07 November 2011

Two men and two women are selected by social networking site to take part in an all-expenses-paid exclusive competition flight from the UK to New York, on which they could win fabulous prizes. They meet at the airport, where a stretch-limo drives them to a private jet. They are asked to relinquish their mobile phones for the sake of the game, and very soon they are airbourne, relaxing in luxurious seats and drinking Champagne. In turn, via mini-screens they are questioned on their profiles. However, it soon becomes clear that their unseen host knows a lot more about them than is healthy, and that each of them have at least one dark secret. When one of them abruptly refuses to participate further, he is shown live footage of a loved one bound and gagged, and being terrorised. He is threatened to continue or the captive will be killed. Events immediately plunge them into a nightmare from which there is no escape. It is then they discover they are not flying to New York at all.

It’s always good to sample a homegrown horror. Panic Button has bags of potential; the scenario of information and identity theft is current and powerful in this context. It taps into the psyche. Technophobes and those who believe the entire World Wide Web is the work of the devil (they do exist - I know a couple) will be freaked-out by the early part of this story. Electronic hacking, identity theft, abduction, blackmail, torture and murder - they’re all here. In fact the first thirty to forty minutes are intriguing and entertaining edge-of-the-seat suspense as good as any you’ll see.

However, this is the point at which the film quickly runs out of ideas. I wanted to see a continuous ratching-up of the drama and tension, but instead it became rather predictable and fizzled-out. Perhaps the explanation was revealed too early. Even the idea of the small aircraft being claustrophobic didn’t succeed as much as allow the setting to become tedious. This is truly a film of two halves.

There might be some special features but, as I received only a time-coded recording of the film, I have no inclination to comment on them.


Ty Power

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