Panic Button (2011)★★★☆☆
Well, this was a not-so-subtle, incredibly heavy handed social commentary on, well, social commentary. Or more specifically, social media and the voyeuristic tendencies it brings out in people.
It’s okay, but not great. Even the British accents couldn’t push this film into “great” territory. They helped, though. It’s watchable and reasonably interesting, but makes some weird mistakes along the way.
It tips its hand way too early, for example. The stakes are clear to the viewer from the opening sequence which leaves the element of surprise for only the characters. This would be fine if they did anything with the dramatic irony, but instead it feels like they wanted an easy opening hook and didn’t really know where to escalate from there.
Also it takes the group way too long to start questioning what’s happening, so much of the film seems to drag on and on. The reveals towards the end are all lumped together and feel rushed, though, so it’s not purely a slow pacing problem. It’s a general lack of consistent pacing problem, I suppose.
The acting is fine, the music is fine, and the HAL 9000 imagery is fine though distractingly obvious. Seriously, at one point, the alligator says “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” I also feel like the final scene is unnecessary, though I’ll admit by that point I just wanted it to be over.
I said it already, but overall this one is just okay. It requires slightly more attention than background music, and I probably wouldn’t recommend it if you’re really looking to be scared.