Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Don’t Hang Up: Bad Karma Calling
two meatheads make the Jerky Boys look suave and socially responsible. They
post online videos of their prank calls for their shallow, soulless followers
to like and share, but the nature of their gags is despicably harsh. Often,
they impersonate authority figures to claim a loved one has died in an auto accident
or the like. As one might expect, this invites karma to come back around to
visit them with a vengeance in Alexis Wajsbrot & Damien Macé’s Don’t Hang Up (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
the prologue, we see Sam Fuller, Brady Manion, and the other two chuckleheads
in their “Prankmonkey” ensemble convince the terrified mother of a young girl
there is a violent criminal in her home. If you think this sounds wildly
irresponsible, hold that thought, because the incident is obviously
significant. Flashforward a few weeks and we find Fuller in a mopey mood
because his girlfriend Peyton Grey has dumped him once again. Manion intends to
console him with an evening of beer and crank calling, but this time they get
the mysterious “Mr. Lee” is holding Manion’s parents captive and can see their
every move inside the Fuller house. He will proceed to toy with the pranksters,
sewing dissension between them and needling their weak points. Viewers can
imagine the shadowy mastermind has a very good reason for being so upset with
them, so we do not begrudge him his Biblical payback.
fact, Don’t Hang Up seems to be that
rare kind of horror movie that openly invites us to root for the bogeyman. If
you can buy into it on those terms, it is a wickedly entertaining thrill ride.
Granted, Mr. Lee gets seriously Old Testament in the third act, but by that
time, we so loathe these entitled millennials, we’re okay with that.
sort of have to give Gregg Sulkin and Garrett Clayton credit for making Fuller
and Manion so nauseatingly self-absorbed and utterly lacking in basic human empathy.
They really help Wajsbrot and Macé stir up the audience’s blood lust. Both
directors have special effects backgrounds, but DHU is much more a showcase for their super-slick, attitude-heavy
execution and breakneck pacing. At least for a while, they also emulate
Hitchcock’s Rope, which suddenly
seems to be the thing to do, but you lose sight of the gimmicks when the stakes
and tension really start to rise.
It is rather remarkable how adeptly Wajsbrot and
Macé upend the way viewers relate to horror films, but that also makes it quite
satisfying. It is a taut, nimble film that will make midnight movie regulars sit
up and take notice. Highly recommended for horror and revenge thriller fans, Don’t Hang Up opens (late night) this
Friday (2/10) in New York, at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Horror Movies