Originally released in 2011, British cyber-horror Panic Button gets a remastered launch on DVD & Download from October 23, 2017. Directed by Chris Crow & starring Scarlett Alice Johnson, Jack Gordon, Michael Jibson and Elen Rhys.
A tense & cautionary tale about the dangers of social media, Panic Button sees four people win the trip of a lifetime to New York. All courtesy of the social-networking website, All2gethr.com. Once aboard the private jet the four get to know each before their host, an animated alligator informs them that they will be taking part in a new online gaming experience.
Play or risk forfeiting potential prizes, the group are happy to play along until things start to get really personal. Nothing is secret on the internet. That person’s profile you’ve been looking at daily? those secret websites you like to visit? those videos that turn you on? It’s all there if you know where to look.
It soon becomes clear to the four ‘winners’ that this is no ordinary game. Trapped at 30,000 feet, they are forced to play for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Panic Button gets a lot right at first. The cast are interesting, the set-up simple & it doesn’t hang about. The tension felt as the characters attempt to lie their way out of awkward questions is intense. It’s exciting to see them unravel when faced with exactly what they’ve done on the internet.
The ‘be careful of what you post online’ story isn’t necessarily new but Panic Button approaches it in an interesting & fresh way. Deep down we all know that we should be more careful online but often just dismiss it as we’re just one person in world wide web of billions. Who cares, right?
The cast do well with Michael Jibson & Elen Rhys standing out as the best. The early scenes feel really awkward as the group really don’t know each other & don’t like having personal things about themselves revealed. This could have been handled better though as the same childish reactions to anything sex related just makes you roll your eyes.
Panic Button begins to lose its way in the last 30 minutes or so, dropping the tension & replacing it with boorish attempts at shock. The POV imagery of brutal attacks on the foursomes’ friends & family doesn’t have the impact it could have as they just pop as a punishment & are over quickly. It would have been better to see the characters having to answer questions truthfully & quickly to try & save the victims. Potentially adding even more tension to the pretty dire situation.
Logic begins to drift away with the ‘do or die’ part of the game. A horrible seduction scene is made even more stupid as one of the characters has a pretty large wound on his chest but instantly goes for the heavy petting.
The ending has a big reveal that ends up raising way more questions than it should & the final scene is laughably stupid.
It’s a shame because the idea is solid & for 55-60 minutes, Panic Button is interesting & exciting.