Right from minute one, Don’t Hang Up breaks the cardinal rule of horror movies: It gives us characters you immediately wish would die slow, painful deaths. In this case, it’s a couple of teenage dudebros (Gregg Sulkin and Garrett Clayton) who get their kicks making prank phone calls, mostly convincing the schnooks on the other end of the line to fear for their lives and uploading videos of those calls online for likes.
Of course, these two get their comeuppance when a mysterious caller turns the tables on them, terrorizing the boys and their loved ones on a dark and stormy night. It at first seems like an elaborate ruse set up to teach these punks a lesson. But once blood enters the picture, shit looks like it could get gravely real. Clocking in at just 83 minutes, this flick cuts all kinds of corners in its basic plot. (The gotcha ending raises questions the movie could’ve easily answered.)
It all plays more like a demo reel that directors/visual effects artists Alexis Wajsbrot and Damien Macé are throwing out there so major studios might give them blockbuster work. The pair pull off some impressive visual trickery — like threading together scenes to look like one continuous shot as the camera snakes in and out of a house — that’ll have you thinking they must’ve seen Panic Room a bunch of times. Basically, Don’t Hang Up is a hire-me sign masquerading as a slasher film.
Don’t Hang Up
Directed by Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot
Opens February 10, Cinema Village
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 7, 2017