DVD Review: Play Hooky

Published on December 5th, 2014 in: DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Found Footage, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Brad Henderson

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I should have a weekly found footage column; that would make this a whole lot easier. Our found footage film for this week is Play Hooky

Like I’ve said in the past, found footage has three categories; great, OK, and bad. There are some found footage films that actually try hard to be different or unique and I give them credit for that. For example, Frankenstein’s Army (review) had amazing monsters and a cool concept but it just lacked big time in the direction and editing departments; it was like watching a video game. Still, in no way, shape, or form would I consider Frankenstein’s Army a bad found footage film.

There are key elements that need to be in found footage these days in order to keep the viewer occupied. Ghosts and demons just don’t cut it anymore. I know why people use these clichés: because they are cheap as hell and filmmakers can make bank on them. Yet, you can see these movies lack greatly in the creativity department. Now, it seems that people are taking plots from other films and just making a found footage version of them, for example, Crowsnest, which was a found footage version of Deliverance. I love the found footage method of storytelling but I want some originality. That’s where Play Hooky comes in.

Although it’s original, Play Hooky isn’t great or bad. At best, it’s OK. I give the film many props for different things, one of which is the lack of a budget. A few friends grabbed a $200 camera from Best Buy, found an abandoned building, and shot a film over a seven-day period. Play Hooky may not be a great film but holy crap, is it an accomplishment. I am impressed with this crew for making a found footage film for next to nothing that held my interest and provided a couple of laughs. The handheld camera work isn’t all that bad and the acting is mediocre, but the film isn’t boring at all. With an increasing number of independent found footage films out there, the quality and stories tend to go downhill. Play Hooky tries very hard to compete with the bigger ones and does it well.

Play Hooky also plays a clever trick, despite having a simple plot. I’ve actually been waiting for someone to use this, so I’m glad to finally see it. I’m not going to tell you what it is because that would give away the element of surprise.

There is one more thing; keep watching after the credits. There is a post credits sequence that adds a lot of originality. It’s somewhat disturbing and very well acted. Again, I can’t go further into detail because it would give away the surprise. This scene tries to justify what our eyes just witnessed and we start to feel a little sympathy with who is involved. It is by far one of the best things about the film and I’m glad I didn’t turn it off or I would have missed this awesome scene. It makes sense that it wasn’t put into the actual film because it has a different tone; putting it after the credits is a lot smarter because we are in a different mindset.

Play Hooky is another Wild Eye Releasing movie. I’m glad there is a company that sees the good in some of these lower budget films and gives them a chance.

Play Hooky was released by Wild Eye Releasing on October 21.

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