Don't Hang Up
Don't Hang Up film Review
There are a lot of horror films which are marketed toward the teenage audience and this is where Don’t Hang Up fits in. Unfortunately, this is also where it is likely to get lost. Writer Joe Johnson creates an interesting concept, with some clever twists in the story, but there is nothing in the film which really makes it stand out. Horror fans have seen this done countless times before, with the film taking notes from others such as Saw, they will be able to foresee most of the events before they unfold.
Directors Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot do however show some promise with their feature debut. The opening sequence where a call is received, plays on the classic theme of ‘There’s an intruder in the house’. It may not be the most original idea, but the scene works well to slowly build up a tense atmosphere. If they’d have have chosen to continue to build on this throughout the film, they could have made a powerful thriller, as this remains the most memorable scene in the film. Instead they decided to use the film as a showcase for their creativity, delivering some great visual shots as the camera moves seamlessly throughout the house and objects as it follows the characters. It is great to look at, but I would have preferred the tension they created at the start.
In horror, it’s not unusual to have at least one character that everyone dislikes, so you feel like cheering when they finally get killed. Don’t Hang Up takes that one step further by ensuring all the main characters all fit into this description. There are three main characters who film themselves participating in a series of extreme prank calls, although the film focuses on two characters, Sam Fuller (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady Mannion (Garrett Clayton). They are deliberately portrayed as obnoxious and unlikable. Even when they try to show an endearing quality to look after each other, you still feel, given the opportunity, they would throw a child under a bus if it meant they could get away. The film sets the audience against them from the start, so when they are fighting for survival you lack any empathy for them, possibly even rooting for the killer.
You must have an extended sense of disbelief when watching horror films, the killer is stronger, faster and has the ability to be in several places at once. In Don’t Hang Up the killer also happens to be a technology wizard, able to hack into everything. Laptops, phones, the TV, even the lights in every room are controlled remotely by the killer. It has become one of these abilities that we accept the killers can do. If we can believe that superheroes can fly, we can believer the killer could have some unique skills which would give them an edge over their victims. The killer is once again fuelled by revenge, having been the victim of that one call the pranksters shouldn’t have made. The film is left open for a possible sequel, but there aren’t any distinctive traits that make the killer stand out to warrant a return.
The film is well shot and has some good ideas which would work well for the teenage audience which it targets. It’s worth a watch, although long term horror fans may be left disappointed as it doesn’t offer anything more.