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#2,417. Don't Hang Up (2016)

Posted on the 02 September 2017 by Dvdinfatuation
#2,417. Don't Hang Up  (2016)
Directed By: Damien Macé, Alexis Wajsbrot
Starring: Gregg Sulkin, Garrett Clayton, Bella Dayne
Tag line: "Be Careful Who You Prank"
Trivia: Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot's feature directorial debut
It isn’t unusual for a horror movie to have unlikable characters; I didn’t particularly care for the leads in either Welcome to the Jungle or Shredder, and felt that at least a few of those who suffered a grisly fate in these two films got what they deserved. Well, after the opening scene of 2016’s Don’t Hang Up, which features a practical joke that some buddies pull on a poor, unsuspecting housewife (played by Sienna Guillory), I can honestly say that I’ve never disliked a group of main characters as much as I did these idiots, and right off the bat I was hoping none of them would make it out of the movie alive.
Best friends Sam (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady (Garrett Clayton) are members of a group that specializes in practical jokes, putting ordinary people in horrific situations (children held hostage, death of a relative, etc), then posting their reactions on-line for the world to see. Their prank show is wildly popular, and Sam and Brady, as well as their partner in crime Mosley (Jack Brett Anderson), have become minor celebrities as a result.
But Sam hasn’t been able to revel in their success as of late, due mostly to his crumbling relationship with girlfriend Peyton (Bella Dayne). To cheer him up, Brady spends the night at Sam’s house (Sam’s parents are out of town), eating pizza and pranking random people on the telephone. But when one of their pranks goes awry, the duo finds themselves being stalked by a man known only as Mr. Lee (voiced by Philip Desmeules), who seems to know an awful lot about them. In fact, Mr. Lee hasn’t only done his homework on Sam and Brady; he’s also targeted their nearest and dearest, including Peyton and Brady’s parents (Alex Dee and Jane Ryall).
Who is Mr. Lee, and why is he so angry? Before the night is over, Sam and Brady will figure out the answers to these questions, but they may not live long enough to tell anyone about it.
So, yeah, I hated the main characters in Don’t Hang Up the minute they popped on-screen during the opening credit sequence, and I was anxious to see what terrible fate awaited these douchebags as the movie progressed (their practical jokes weren’t just mean… they were downright illegal, and they should have been locked up for what they’ve done).
Still, the movie does have a few things going for it, including the remarkable cinematography of Nat Hill, who put together some very cool shots early on. In one, the camera swoops through the keyhole of a front door, flies low over a few knick-knacks on a family room table, then comes to a rest in the kitchen, where Sam is staring at his laptop, contemplating his failing relationship with Peyton. It’s an ingeniously-staged sequence, and the camera continues to move freely throughout the movie, infusing each and every scene with an undeniable energy. In addition, the two main leads do a decent enough job playing a pair of morons (though Gregg Sulkin’s American accent does slip a bit when his character gets excited) As for the story itself, it’s definitely nerve-racking, and Don’t Hang Up kept me poised on the edge of my seat right up until the final act.
Which is exactly when things began to fall apart, thanks mostly to a series of late plot twists that were as predictable as they come. In fact, I was able to figure out three of these twists well before they were revealed (and If I can do it, so can you).
I don’t usually assign ratings, but if I was to rate Don’t Hang Up, I’d give it two out of four stars. It’s not the worst horror film you’ll see this year, but it won’t make any top-10 lists either.

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