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PLAYROOM
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Reviewed by: Dave Murray

Directed by: Stephen Maximillian Stahl

Starring:
Chris Cannon
Nicholas Joseph Kattar
Adam Ratcliffe

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Max, Jimmy, Norm, Nick and Jason are high school friends that made a pledge to always stick together. Years later, on their annual football trip to Philly, two of them disappear under mysterious circumstances. How far will the other go to find their friends, and how far will Nick and Jason have to go in order to make it out of a psycho's playroom alive?
Is it good movie?
Nope, no it is not. It was a good movie, right up until the point where it became a less gory and more perverted rip off of Hostel. Up until this unfortunate event, it was a mildly entertaining buddy comedy, with some okay performances and not a whole lot of style. However, after the two schlubs get abducted by evil hookers and become the muscular playthings of a sadistic, dildo loving maniac filmmaker, the film goes steadily downhill into a botched mess of homophobia, double crossing and poor filmmaking.

Now, I admire the fact that these guys actually got a movie made and released on DVD. I mean, it's obvious there was some talent here. Some of the actors are actually quite good (most notably Chris Cannon as a wisecracking guy with serious ADHD and 10 pounds of shitty issues crammed into a two pound bag, and the gorgeous Evy Lutzky as the hooker with a heart of gold), but unfortunately most of them never rise above the level of Z-grade underground porn acting. And in terms of directing and writing, I can see where they wanted to go, but if you are going for originality or even marketability the last director you should be emulating is Eli Roth. At least we aren't treated to another audio commentary about his time in film school and all the famous people he's managed to rub shoulders with. And of all of the subgenres of horror out there, the one that I would want to see perpetuated and continued is the whole greasy 'torture porn' smear.

But then again, Playroom doesn't even live up to the grisly heights of the movies it is emulating, since there is little to no gore (aside from one severed penis and a couple of weak gunshots), and the majority of the torture is of the being sodomized by hookers with strap-ons variety. While I can appreciate the hookers with strap-ons part of that equation, when the horror in your movie amounts to an extended and a little more graphic version of the Vandersexxx scene from Eurotrip, and the pathetic whining of a buff sexaholic who was just on the extreme receiving end of a butt pounding from a woman! Again, do I even have to start explaining how wrong this all is. And the twist at the end, with an unexpected double cross, falls flat since there were only a few little clues that someone would feel a little left out of the buddy love over the years. But it's not wnough to have your friends anally raped and killed.

I could go on to rant about the video quality production values and the other gaping holes in this stinker, but you and I both have better things to do, such as watch better movies than this. I will say this though: If anybody lets the guy who played the old crazy filmmaker in this movie ever act in a movie again, I will gouge out my own eyes. I mean, at least Roth got Miike for a cameo. All these guys got was Mr. Roberts with a piss poor accent and a leather and dildo fetish. Sad, man. Really sad.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1.

Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) and subtitles in English and Spanish.
The Extras
None. Strange, not even a menu.
Last Call
If you like horror movies, story, tension, terror, buddy comedies or stellar filmmaking, go watch something else. It started off as likable and slightly entertaining, but at about halfway in it degenerated into something below a rectal exam on the scale of fun. Avoid this one. Hopefully these folks can pull it together and make something decent, because as I said there is talent in there. Just too bad it's not focused in this movie. Sometimes there are movies that are bad enough to exhaust your ability to bash them, and make you need a nap.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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