Panic Button DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Showbox Media
Directed by Chris Crow
Written by Frazer Lee and Chris Shackleton
2011, Region 2 (PAL), 90 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 7th November 2011
Scarlett Alice Johnson as Jo
Jack Gordon as Max
Michael Jibson as Dave
Elen Rhys as Gwen
Joshua Richards as Alligator
After winning a prize through a social networking site (not Facebook) four excitable strangers come together on a private jet to sup champagne and answer stupid trivia questions. They find themselves menaced by a judgmental cartoon alligator with a sneering English accent. He threatens to kill their friends and relatives if they don't play along with his progressively perilous game. It's Saw On A Plane!
Panic Button is reminiscent of the similarly low-rent Japanese thriller Death Tube. Not only does it have the same stupid games based around social networking (not Facebook) and modern media, but it also has its protagonists also menaced by a completely non-scary cartoon character. But where Death Tube had a variety of dingy warehouse environments and scary traps to play with, Panic Button is set entirely on an aeroplane. It's like M. Night Shyamalan's Devil crossed with Red Eye and also a little bit of United 93.
A cast of English irritants makes Panic Button's the flight from hell. There's chubby pervert Dave, single mum Jo, condescending Gwen and hippy Max, who looks a bit like Clive Owen. Dave is particularly horrible; his slimy brand of machismo making him the most deserving of a good murder. But even Dave is outdone by their captor, an angry cartoon alligator with a suspiciously good knowledge of the contestants' internet history. It appears on TV screens alone (seems that our mastermind couldn't even afford a puppet or a tricycle) to tut, cluck and disapprove like Mary Whitehouse resurrected. With all that access to the internet, you'd think that he could have checked IMDb to make sure he'd not ripped off his dastardly scheme from I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. A predictable “you didn't read the terms and conditions” gag was done so much better on South Park's 'Human CentiPad' episode. In fact, almost everything in Panic Button has been done so much better elsewhere. There are eventually some nice twists and some decent action, and the story is quite gripping - but all of it is ruined by unlikeable characters and bad acting.
As the film progresses, it becomes increasingly tiresome and eventually starts to grate. The contestants become more and more hysterical, their actions more ridiculous and unbelievable. And the silly cartoon alligator never shuts up. Everything from blocking a sexual conquest on a social networking site (not Facebook) to lying on an Internet personality quiz falls under his scorn. The characters act ashamed of things that aren't all that shameful, and lie about things even when it becomes patently obvious that doing so would be futile. Cartoon Alligator's motives, whilst not immediately apparent, are easily deduced and unoriginal. Its underlying message is one which has been told many times before.
Panic Button claims to be inspired by “true stories shared on social media sites.” Horrible people use social networking websites, who knew. You too can be annoying at the film's amusing viral social network site 'all2gethr.com'. If there is a panic button, you can find it on your DVD player. It's called the off switch. Consider using it on this movie.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Not graded as this was a screener