Panic Button is a 2011 horror movie which is sensibly short and sharp. Many of its ingredients are genuinely interesting, though whether director Chris Crow made the most of them is debatable.
I really liked the premise. Four youngish people, two men and two women, who participate in a social networking site, win a dream trip by private jet to New York. But when a disembodied voice invites them to play some in-flight games, events take a sinister turn. What are the secrets of the four passengers, and why have they been chosen for the trip?
We have been prepared for something grim by the fact that, before the credits rolled, one of the character’s homes was invaded by masked intruders. Events on the flight become progressively darker as the m minutes pass, although I could never figure out why the plane was actually – as the luckless quartet discover – heading, not for New York, but for....Norway.
The pace of the film doesn’t quite disguise the various plot holes. There is an intelligent idea – about the dangers of social networking, and in particular bullying in cyberspace – at the heart of the story, but it is rather lost in the frenetic action. So the film is exciting, on a superficial level, but in some ways a bit of a mess if one stops to analyse it. The final twist, though clever, comes completely out of the blue, and some foreshadowing would have been a good idea. A bit more characterisation – not least of the villain of the piece – would also have helped. All in all, a film worth watching, but not as good as it could have been.