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DVD Review

DVD cover

Panic Button (2011)
(2017 Remastered Edition)


Starring: Scarlett Alice Johnson, Michael Jibson, Jack Gordon, Elen Rhys, Joshua Richards and Millie Midwinter
Distributor: Trinty Film
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 23 October 2017

Four young adults win an all-expenses paid V.I.P. trip to New York in a private jet, courtesy of the social network site Soon after taking off and getting acquainted a voice welcomes them and begins round one of a game. This asks them pointed questions regarding their personal lives. But it doesn’t end there. The voice begins to make demands, setting them against one another, and showing footage of their loved ones in captivity. Then they discover the aircraft isn’t heading to New York at all...

I reviewed the initial release of this film on DVD back in 2011. Purposely, I’ve avoided re-reading that review; I want to know if my opinion has changed at all with this remastered release. Certainly, as time has passed the subject matter has become much more relevant, with fears of identity theft, on-line fraud, and any number of other unsavoury on-line crimes. Social networking has always been a two-edged sword. Making and meeting friends is countered by the fact that many people play-out their life on-line for all the world to see, making it easy for the more unscrupulous among us to use their information for nefarious ends. I can’t recall many movies from the era of Panic Button’s origin which showed the dark side of the internet. Killer Net and FearDotCom spring to mind. Of course, Hostel III and many others have since used scenarios which have dangerous – even fatal – events being enacted for the entertainment of a select, paying, perverted secret society, etc.

We should always encourage home grown talent, and this is one of those periodic films which has endeared me to it more through the extras than the feature itself. There is an audio commentary with writers Frazer Lee, John Shackleton and David Shillitoe; a Guerrilla Filmmakers Masterclass; and the hugely enjoyable/informative Flight School – How to Get a Film off the Ground. Thrown in as well are a Gag Reel, Outtakes and Deleted Scenes, and a ‘Making of’ Gallery.

The early scenes are fun, whilst instilling that early doubt. We already know from the opening that the mother of one of the key players has been killed by intruders, so I believe the early ambiguity of events would have been improved by excluding this opening. I like the way the characters are friendly but tentative with each other. One of the group is so annoying you can’t help considering him a **** (insert your own expletive) after only twenty minutes, and this proves good characterisation and acting. The tension is systematically cranked-up through the first round of questions. Once we get to the disembodied voice’s demands to the individuals, all of the cards have been pretty much laid on the table and the taut power of the plot rushes away, leaving you uncaring about the conclusion.

Having just looked at my old review of Panic Button; although I have made some new observations this time around, it would seem my overall opinion is unchanged.


Ty Power

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