17 July 2017

DON'T HANG UP. (2016) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




DON'T HANG UP. (2016) DIRECTED BY DAMIEN MACÉ AND ALEXIS WAJSBROT. WRITTEN BY JOE JOHNSON. 
STARRING GREGG SULKIN, GARRETT CLAYTON, JACK BRETT ANDERSON, BELLA DAYNE, PHILIP DESMEULES AND PARKER SAWYERS.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is actually a really good horror movie, even though we've seen similar stuff before. It's all computers and cellphones, so it reminded me a good bit of UNFRIENDED, but DON'T HANG UP is probably better, to tell you the truth.

I get a bit annoyed sometimes, though, when movie titles try to boss you around, tell you what you can and can't do, where you can and can't go, like when they tell you not to go in the house or in the basement or up into the attic or wherever. Now they're trying to tell us how to behave on the telephone, believe it or not. Movie titles are not the boss of me. I'm the boss of them, mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Whaddya mean, that doesn't make any sense...?

Anyway, the opening scenes of DON'T HANG UP are positively electrifying. A defenceless woman is sleeping when she gets a call in the middle of the night from a total stranger to say that there are intruders in her home. As the woman's husband is away from home but her little daughter is fast asleep just down the hall, the woman is absolutely terrified. Understandable, right?

She freaks out completely and then, just when our hearts are in our mouths and we're thinking that this is going to be a terrifying home invasion movie, it's revealed that the call is a prank call from three high school jokers who make a habit of this kind of thing. Yeah, and not only that, but they post the recordings of their stupid prank calls online for their equally cretinous followers or whatever they're called to listen to and jerk off to as well, no doubt, if'n they're so inclined. If'n that's what floats their boat.

The little shits. I mean, where the f**k are their parents in all this? They're a bloody disgrace, anyway, allowing high school kids so much freedom that they can be off doing stuff like this instead of studying or going to the Prom or making out under the bleachers. No, wait, that's bad too and can lead to teenage pregnancy. Don't do it, kids. To the ones who have already been there and done that, I say: 'See? What did I tell you...?'

Seriously though, no wonder kids today have gone to the dogs. I blame the almost total lack of adult supervision. The only time we see any parents in this movie, well, they're not exactly doing any parenting, put it that way. Far from it, in fact. They've really dropped the ball on this one. For shame, movie parents, for shame. That's right, hang your fictional heads.

Anyway, Sam Fuller and Brady Mannion are the two ring-leaders. Sam is kind of a teenage-heartthrobby Robert-Pattinson-from-TWILIGHT (remember him?) lookalike. He's mooning over difficulties he's having with his cute girlfriend Peyton Grey, who delivers pizzas after school so at least has some semblance of a responsible streak in her, unlike her dopey boyfriend. Brady just seems like a total jerk with very few redeeming qualities.

One night, the two messers are home alone in one of their houses. (It's clearly not the first time that this has happened, tsk tsk.) They naturally head straight for the phone with the intention of creating once more their own particular nasty brand of havoc and fear. This time, however, the tables have been turned a bit. Someone starts calling them...

The caller is a scary-sounding man with a deep voice who identifies himself only as 'Mr. Lee.' He knows a lot more about the boys than they're comfortable with. And he keeps on calling, even after they've started hanging up on him. Eventually, however, the creepy Mr. Lee convinces the lads that it's better for their health if they stay on the line. If, in fact, they do exactly what he says and don't hang up...

I hope it's not a spoiler to say that the idiot school-boys are about to experience a come-uppance for their mischievous ways so severe that, if they survive this night, they'll never so much as look at a phone again. Serves them right, the annoying little nuisances. Ringing up honest folk and scaring the bejeesus out of them just for kicks, the rotten menaces.

Mr. Lee is several steps ahead of the lads the entire night, a night which fast becomes a nightmare for the two of them and also for Peyton, Sam's girlfriend, who is unwise enough to turn up at the house with a pizza they've apparently ordered.

Who is the authoritative-sounding Mr. Lee, and why is he tormenting these two awful teenage boys? Could he be someone they've pissed off with their high jinks? Well, very likely, I'd say, considering that the irresponsible brats seem to have pestered the whole bloody neighbourhood by this stage with their shenanigans.

The scares come thick and fast and the ending is wrapped up nicely, neatly and convincingly, with maybe only a loophole or two, but we won't worry too much about those. They're no big deal in the grand scheme of things.

DON'T HANG UP is a good spooky watch. I'd definitely recommend it to all you lovely fright-seekers out there. And to all you parents reading this, I say: Do you know where your kids are tonight and what they're doing...? I love the episode of THE SIMPSONS where Homer's answer to that question is: 'I already told you, no...!'

But that's a funny TV show, not real life. In real life, the little buggers need constant adult supervision to prevent them from turning into the little shits from DON'T HANG UP. Don't leave them to the tender mercies of Mr. Lee. He doesn't care if your wee precious angels are lactose intolerant or have nut allergies or a dental appointment to have expensive braces fitted. All he cares about is that they stay on the line... and don't hang up...

Out on DVD on 12th June 2017 and Digital on 26th June 2017
courtesy of Solo Media and Matchbox Films

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com














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