Panic Button DI
2011 Running time: 95 Certificate: 18 Rating: 4
KA Panic Button

Synopsis

Saw at 30,000ft best describes Chris Crow's fiendish, suspenseful shocker. Four social networking strangers win an online trip to the Big Apple, but soon discover there's something rotten aboard their private jet as a series of games turns ever more dangerous. Slowly ratcheting up the dread before delivering a succession of climactic jolts, buckle up tight for this first class flightmare.

Director

  • Chris Crow

Cast

  • Scarlett Alice Johnson

  • Jack Gordon

  • Michael Jibson

  • Elen Rhys

Review

Panic Button is a perfect example of how to make a low-budget frightener that punches way above its weight.

Largely confined to a jet plane interior set (borrowed from The Da Vinci Code fact-fans), director Crow uses the reported £300,000 budget on a widescreen sheen, a handful of impressive FX shots and a likeable, professional cast plucked from TV soaps and modest British movies.

The director and his three co-writers also stick closely to familiar horror plotting recognisable to fans of the Saw movies, My Little Eye or Wolf Creek (or even House on Haunted Hill), adding in social networking and internet paranoia for a topical topping.

So, we have pretty, vulnerable Jo (Johnson, Adulthood) boarding a private plane with Aaron Johnson lookalike Max (Gordon, Fish Tank), the cocky Dave (Jibson, Cemetery Junction) and the gentle-faced Gwen (Rhys, er, Holby City).

After well-delivered getting-to-know-you-exposition the in-flight entertainment begins as social networking site All2gethr.com subjects the hapless quartet to an increasingly ominous set of tests and challenges via a creepy animated crocodile logo.

Notching up the tension for the first hour, Panic Button plays effectively on the paranoia of the internet's power to bring out the worst in everyone as the passengers are revealed to be not quite as decent as they first seem.

And while the film's flight path doesn't deviate hugely from previously charted territory (the final half hour sees things get really nasty), Crow and his writers keep some late-in-the-day surprises, dark humour (Terms & Conditions are for wimps) and a genuinely creepy epilogue that lifts this well above typical straight-to-DVD fare.

Shot in Cardiff, this is British horror at its bloody best and proof that Doctor Who is not the only great thing to come out of Wales.