Dir: Alexis Wajsbrot, Damien Mace, 2016
This review contains minor spoilers
Very few horror movies, today, are worth any more than a few minutes of your time.
Unoriginal, cliched, boring and platitudinous are just some of the adjectives that can be applied to the genre but, occasionally, you find a diamond in the rough and Don’t Hang Up is just that.
Dickhead teenage friends Sam, Brady, Mosley, host a vlog of their pranks which consist, primarily, of phoning innocent people up and pretending to be the police.
However, two of the youths receive a phone call and the tables are turned. Only, this is no prank.
Don’t Hang Up isn’t original or inventive. The plot and the film’s contents have been regurgitated time and time again. But, there is something to this film that drags it out of the realm of familiarity.
There is a sense of justice, here, as the two lead characters are a pair of bellends who deserve everything they get. Stereotypical of middle class American high school teens, they are given poncey names like Brady and Peyton, the sort of names you only hear in poncey US programmes about middle class teens.
Nothing about this film should work, but directors Wajsbrot and Mace are able to wring a few drops of creepiness out of an arid towel.
A conflict that resides in the movie only adds to the film’s success. We can’t cheer or support Sam and Brady, and we don’t feel anything for Sam’s ex-girlfriend, Peyton; naturally, the hottest girl in school. Writer Joe Johnson (Jurassic Park III) doesn’t want us to side with the perpetrator, Mr. Lee, but is automatically drawn to him as he’s giving two irritating dipshits what they deserve.
One of the few things to differentiate this from other, such, standard fare, is a lack of sadism. Lee isn’t doing what he’s doing for fun or murderous glee but a sense of duty and honour.
At a mere eighty minutes, Don’t Hang Up is a pleasantly surprising entry into a well worn genre that will entertain for it’s, fairly short, running time.