“Paintball” reps the cinematic equivalent of having color-filled bullets pumped at you for 90 minutes. Bloody but heartless horror-thriller delivers bucketsful of noise, action and suspense, but the total absence of anything else — including any true, character-based tension or novel twists — will limit its chances of replicating recent Spanish successes in the genre, despite the English dialogue. Released July 10, pic could still hit its mark in niche Euro markets.
Eight thrill-seeking stereotypes, including good-hearted black guy Eric (Patrick Regis), feisty lady Anna (Jennifer Matter) and morally suspect leader-type David (Brendan Mackey) are dumped from the back of a van in the middle of nowhere and, within 10 minutes, are being fired upon with real bullets. The rest of the film sees many of them picked off, one by one, by a team of snipers employed by even wealthier thrill-seekers. Suspense elements are decently handled as the deaths become increasingly elaborate and painful, but the handheld camerawork quickly becomes as tiresome as the overdone audio. The final scene suggests that the audience is as sadistic as the killers, a hint of wit that comes too late.