Panic Button (2011)

The trouble with planes is that there is always an ’emergency’ axe on board.

A group of four strangers win a competition run by the social site All2gethr.com (no doubt meant to represent Facebook) and the prize is an all expenses paid flight to New York. However first they must take part in the in-flight entertainment, which takes the form of a show-and-tell masquerading as a quiz.

Initially clever, this film plays on the type of social fears we all have. Would you really want all your friends to know about that video you watched online a few nights ago? What was it called again? “Too Young To Run”? Tut tut. Would you really want everyone to know your full sexual history or should I say lack of sexual history? or how about the genital warts remover you ordered last week, or the piles cream you use on a regular basis?

Moving on from social fears the stakes are raised further when the character’s family members are put in danger. What would you do if a knife was held to your daughter’s throat? or if someone had a gun to your mother’s head? You are watching her on a screen and are hundreds of miles away and powerless to intervene. What would you do to stop them from being harmed? Anything? Well the point of this film is to explore that possibility and to terrify you in the process.

However sadly (within the context of the film) there is never actually a knife at your daughter’s throat. The film is happy to show your best friend’s head blown off with a shotgun or your brother’s arms cut off with a machete (things which are now horror film standard fare) but stops short when it comes to showing the truly terrifying and genuinely uncomfortable. Not that I want to necessarily see these things but just the possibility that they *could* happen would be frightening enough.

The acting : I couldn’t decide if it was good or bad, at times seeming realistic and at others like the slightly amateurish acting you get in a British soap opera. Also being a British film (I am English btw) it’s naturally low budget. 90% of the movie is set on a small private plane and while keeping your interest quite well, fails to hold onto it for the final third at which point the film turns into more of a standard slasher flick.

I once went on a TV quiz show here in the UK and you never got to see the host – just hear his fake cheerful voice as he talked to you for 30 minutes. and he sounded just like Alligator (the killer in this film) It was quite creepy then and has the same effect here….

I’m going to give this an average 5/10 It’s certainly inventive and starts well but doesn’t go far enough in exploring your fears to be genuinely frightening.

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