In Don’t Hang Up, two top shelf douche nozzles spend their free time making online “prank” videos …you know; the kind that are never funny and only prove how infantile both the perpetrators and the idiots that follow them really are. Well, shit gets rather unfunny rather fast for our two young protagonists when an unknown caller begins “pranking” them in kind. Things start off prosaic enough, but soon takes a turn for the sadistic as the mysterious caller seemingly knows the boys every move. Before long, parents are tied up in a non-descript room, pizza boy pals are murderized, and our two chums turn against each other in a desperate battle to survive.
Let’s get the good stuff out of the way before I begin Bitch-a-thon 2017© with this flick, shall we? First of all, the film is well shot with some great images here and there and an arty flare that makes it seem like some money was spent on this entry in the stalk and slay genre (even though actors and sets were limited leading me to believe that wasn’t actually the case), and the tension mounts at a brisk pace. Also of note, the lead actors, Gregg Sulkin and Garrett Clayton, really do play their roles well as they go from unlikable teens (more on that in a bit) to mega-stressed out victims. Additionally, the psycho givin’ our “heroes” so much static has a distinctive enough look when finally revealed.
And now on to the negative column fiends! Firstly; this kind of cat and mouse game fright flick has been done to absolute death; and unless you have something really unique to say, you ain’t exactly going to stand severed head and shoulders above the crowd…and Don’t Hang Up definitely doesn’t. It’s a rather rote affair with only the heavy emphasis on social media (which will most likely date the picture considerably in years to come), and the aforementioned visual of the antagonist offering anything of note. That being said, the biggest obstacle of really enjoying this film is the off-putting nature of the folks we are supposed to be rooting for. They are just abrasive from the get go, so when the tables are turned it actually feels very justified, leaving us to care more for the villain of the piece who remains off screen for ninety percent of the run time. Finally, there’s a twist at the end that is telegraphed AF, so prepare to be underwhelmed there as well.
And there’s the rub with Don’t Hang Up my creeps; it isn’t bad enough to truly hate, nor is it good enough to completely fall in love with…it just kind of “is”.