Playdate (2012) **
D: Andrew C. Erin
C: Marguerite Moreau, Abby Brammell, Richard Ruccolo, Julien Dean Lacroix, Natalie Alyn Lind, Aidan Potter, Darren Goldstein, Darin Cooper, Carrie Armstrong
P: A house wife (Moreau), who has recently quit her job, becomes convinced that there is something aloof about her new next door neighbors, but her husband (Ruccolo) tries to convince her that she is either overreacting or that it's all in her head.
Part of the challenge in making a successful thriller is maintaining a level of tension from beginning to end. In order to accomplish this, you can't give away too much, but you have to give away just enough so that viewers can follow what's going on in the film and are interested and invested in the overall proceedings.
For about an hour, Playdate does a passable job of creating tension and unease by presenting various scenarios and asking viewers to figure out what exactly is going on. Is bored house wife Marguerite Moreau simply imagining that her new next door neighbors are up to dastardly acts? Is the new neighbor (Abby Brammell) abusing her kids? Or maybe the new neighbor's kids (Lacroix, Potter) are really the problem and dear old mom is covering up for them?
Once Playdate establishes what exactly is going on at about the hour mark, all that's left is for characters to run around and scream. It's a mechanical resolution that we're forced to sit through. A smarter film would have known that it's the setup and buildup that are far more satisfying then the actual payoff. [Not Rated] 82 mins.
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