Movie Review: Don't Hang Up (2016)
You know those cautionary movie titles, Don't Look in the Basement (1973); Don't Go Near the Water (1957) and of course Don't Go in the Woods (1981) mean nothing since we're just going to do the opposite, but what about when you're told, Don't Hang Up?
For a change, the story revolves around two teenage boys and does borrow elements from both versions of I Saw What You Did. So what could go wrong?
Sam (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady (Garrett Clayton) are part of a popular online pranking team. They know how to dish it out and once the prank is over, is uploaded for all the world to see. As the saying goes, "it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt." Or in this case, killed.
With Sam's parents out of town, he's nursing a broken heart when prankster Brady sneaks into the house. He lets him know that Roy aka PrankMonkey (Edward Killingback) should be coming over soon, but he tells him that he hasn't been answering his texts.
Bored, Brady thinks a couple of pranks are in order and does the classic ordering a pizza for the unsuspecting neighbor. Sam doesn't want him to do it, because his girlfriend Peyton (Bella Dayne) and their other best friend Jeff (Jack Brett Anderson) work for the same pizzeria.
Just as the pizza arrives at the neighbors, Brady calls and pretends to be someone from a neighborhood watch group and tells him about a scam going around involving phony pizza delivery drivers. Jeff of course, is pranked as he doesn't know what Brady's up to and he didn't know that the pizza was essentially a prank.
With Jeff angry, he goes back to work and the boys settle in watching a movie as they wait for Roy and they continue to make a few more prank phone calls.
The house phone rings and the tables are quickly turned, since the caller knows everything about the boys. With the boys on the receiving end, the caller has used everything imaginable to turn the two against each other since it's now a game of survival between the two.
Both Sulkin and Clayton do a great job as the terrorized victims of having the tables turned on them. Since they're carrying the entire movie their terror is spot on as they have tough decisions to make.
The refreshing thing about this movie is that it doesn't rely on the "virgin victim" and shows that a movie, while turning the tables and gender around, can work just fine. A movie like Fear with Mark Wahlberg as Reese Witherspoon's boyfriend/stalker shows that we all have those potential tendencies.
I'm not a fan of pranks (harmless ones with family or friends are fine) but in the beginning of the movie, the prank is so elaborate that if this had happened to you, would you know if it's a prank? And ultimately, if there's a death or serious injury, should they be held responsible?
While entertaining, it does bring up a lot of questions regarding online "celebrities" and moral issues.