Playtime’s Over is an 11-minute homage to famous scary movies, with a thin plot to connect the various scenes together. If you’re thinking to yourself that such a film does not sound like it can stand on its own two feet, well, you’d be correct. But that doesn’t mean it is a complete waste of time.
Dee’s (Evan Reames) parents are going out on a date. The babysitter Laurie (Haley Leary), is running a few minutes late, but the mother (Kimberly Shires) and father (Jeremy Johnson) don’t mind much. After they leave, Laurie attempts to make a deal with the young Dee. So long as she has a bath without a fuss, she can stay up late and watch any horror movies she wants.
Dee silently pouts and storms upstairs. Laurie takes this as a good sign, but little does she know of her charge’s true intentions. Within minutes, Dee has set traps all around the house to torture her babysitter. The first is in the kitchen, after pizza arrives, and winds up with Laurie covered in blood a la Carrie. Laurie gives chase, but Dee winds her way through the house, entangling the babysitter in Saw-style traps and torture.
“So long as she has a bath without a fuss, she can stay up late and watch any horror movies she wants.”
Director Tony Reames has an excellent eye for horror. Each sequence is well lit and filled with both tension and humor. The two leads, Reames and Leary are dynamite together. Reames brings a delightful, mischievous energy to her devilish child. Leary draws audience sympathies fairly quickly and sells the audience that she is petrified.
Sadly, Playtime’s Over is let down by its script. It stretches itself thin, trying to get the characters in a position to act iconic horror moments. I can buy that this little girl can rush about, mostly unsee and not heard, and rig up traps throughout the house. But when the pizza gets delivered with a tiara, the film crumbles under its own weight. That tiara is there solely for the Carrie moment and nothing else.
The whole movie feels like a conversation with that one friend you have who is way, way too into horror (and absolutely no other genres will suffice). This friend is describing to you their favorite scenes from the movies they rewatch the most often. In their enthusiasm, they forget to segue into the new scene, so each moment smashes against the next. It’d be an exhausting talk to keep up with.
Playtime’s Over plays out exactly like that conversation. Its heart is in the right place, but it is overly aggressive in its approach and is clumsy in its execution. The two leads are well suited to the material, and individual moments work. But the movie boils down to nothing more than an acknowledgment of famous scenes from horror movies. Why not go watch those other titles instead?
"…an 11-minute homage to famous scary movies..."