DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Play Hooky
Play Hooky
Wild Eye // Unrated // October 21, 2014
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeremy Biltz | posted November 20, 2014 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:
The found footage genre is mostly played out, but every once in a while you can run across something that's interesting or innovative. In Play Hooky, director Frank Petrilli delivers some thrills and a few innovations, but doesn't really blow the lid off.

Two cousins, Lance and Brad (Vincent Kulish and J. Wright Chester) decide to take some unauthorized time off of school, and since you can't have a truly fun hooky day without girls, they also pick up their friend Rosie (Kim Kleemichen), her friend Megan (Becky Byers) and tagalong friend of Megan's, the painfully awkward Claire (Theresa Davis). They spend a lot of time wandering around, trying to find a good place to party, until they decide to go to an abandoned insane asylum. Petrilli deftly handles the "why are they still filming" issue by having Brad put a secret pinhole camera in his hat, with only Lance knowing it's there.

Despite being warned off by a grumpy groundskeeper (Bob Waters), the septet sneaks into the decrepit building, and is almost immediately locked in, when the overhead door through which they got in slides down and locks. They wander and explore for a while, and Megan comes close to freaking out for no reason, but they finally manage to get to the important business of smoking and drinking. Clearly, something creepy is going on, and before long the deaths and cat and mouse games begin.

Play Hooky isn't a bad film. It's got really great performances, with Kim Kleemichen and Becky Byers being the standouts, pretty decent effects, some interesting twists, and a genuine sense of dread at times. But it doesn't break any new ground or push the found footage forward appreciably. It's a good example of the form, doing well what tends to be done well with found footage, but also falling prey to the common pitfalls as well. For instance, it takes 26 minutes to get to the abandoned asylum, where the real meat of the film is. The action before this is meandering and, while certainly typical of what we could expect from real teenagers wiling away an afternoon ditching school, doesn't contribute to the unease and disquiet that the viewer expects in a horror film.

That said, there's plenty to enjoy here. Fans of found footage horror should make a point to seek out Play Hooky, and others will profit from viewing it, but don't expect to be blown away. With the mix of good and bad, unique and derivative, etc., I'll say this one is Recommended.

The DVD

Video:
Video is 1.78:1 widescreen, and since it is a found footage film the video quality is poor, since it's supposed to be from a pinhole camera in a character's hat. The quality is never so bad that the action is obscured.

Sound:
Audio is Dolby digital 2 channel, and has the same issues as the video, for the same reasons. That said, the dialogue is generally easily audible, and there are not major sound problems. No subtitles or alternate language tracks are included.

Extras:
There are a number of extras included. They are:

Chad Freeman Pollygrind Intro
This is the first release from the Pollygrind Film Festival, and Chad Freeman talks about the film in this short introduction which plays before the film.

Commentary
This commentary features director Frank Petrilli, DP and co-writer Jason Chester, actor and co-writer Vincent Kulish, editor Peter Gould, actor Kim Kleemichen, and Pollygrind's Chad Freeman participating via Skype. The group gets along well and is engaging. They speak a lot about the guerilla film tactics they used, how much of the film was improvised, though there was a complex outline of action. This is an interesting commentary, and has a lot of information on how to pull together a production like this on a shoestring budget.

Original Play Hooky Promo
This is a fairly cool trailer.

Alternate Ending
This is a slightly altered ending that runs about three minutes.

Interviews
Three "interviews" of secondary characters seen in the film, as might be done by an investigative reporter after the fact. It's unclear why they were cut from the film.

Pollygrind Presents Short Film: The Bet
This is an interesting short film, directed by Michael Dunn, involving a kidnapped woman that gets passed back and forth between two men in adjacent apartments. Fun.

Pollygrind Presents Short Film: Kuriosity Killz
Another short film, far inferior to The Bet involving a young Alabama man who has dark designs on his date for the evening.

Final Thoughts:
Play Hooky is an imperfect film, but keep in mind that it was shot in just a few days on a very limited budget. A lot of passion went into the film, and it shows. It's just a little too uneven and wandering to be truly great. It's definitely worth a look.

Popular Reviews
1. The Kiss of the Vampire
2. Slave of the Cannibal God (Special Edition) AKA Mountain of the Cannibal God / La montagna del dio cannibale
3. Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills
4. The Woman
5. Wild Palms
6. Husbands: Criterion Collection
7. Go Go Mania!
8. 2 Films by Claude Sautet (César et Rosalie / Les choses de la vie)
9. Dream Demon [Blu--ray]
10. Inferno of Torture


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2020 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use