Opening with a scene straight out of an urban legend we see a woman asleep in the dead of night suddenly awoken by her mobile phone. It is the police calling to say that an escape convict is in her home and they have the place surrounded. He may have her daughter, he might be outside her door but whatever she does she must not hang up.
Not really because this is all just a dumb prank pulled by teen terror’s Sam (Gregg Sulkin) and his best buddy Brady (Garrett Clayton) along with their cohorts who constantly call up unsuspecting victims with a variety of vindictive pranks videoing them for their perverse puerile pleasure and their insanely popular YouTube channel.
Although he may be having a great laugh at the misfortune of others Sam is in somewhat of a sulk seeing that his smoking hot girlfriend Peyton (Humans and American Horror Stories Bella Dayne) has recently gone cold on their relationship. Home alone with his parents away he plans a night of self pity and studying but Brady arrives with other ideas offering up a movie and more pranks calls to make the pain go away.
The night of telephonic japes takes a turn on the teens when one unknown man answers them back challenging them in a menacing way the friends are far from used to. When they hang up on him he calls back and not only does he know their names but where they live and much much more. The tables are suddenly turned and a game commences that will take the boys far beyond any call they ever imagined.
Initially disappointed by the revelation that the superb scary start was simply a stupid set up I was worried that Don’t Hang Up would continue on a path of jump and joke much like the classic slasher April Fools Day however the film was far superior to any of my expectations taking familiar elements from Scream, Saw and several other horrors to craft an excellent suspense filled slasher which more than delivers on every front.
The vengeance filled games master who calls himself Mr Lee, voiced brilliantly by Philip Desmeules but played by Parker Sawyers, is a great villain toying with the two boys and upping the ante at every turn fully paying them back for all the pranks they have ever pulled on other people.
Certain scenes in Don’t Hang Up are no laughing matter with some graphic and disturbing murders displayed to us and the panic ridden pranksters to prove how serious Mr Lee really is and this keeps the tension and terror high as well as the stakes.
Cleverly directed by visual effects masters Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot with some super stylised shots from a scintillating script by Joe Johnson that races along interestingly Don’t Hang Up sets itself up to play on different levels to different audiences.
While younger viewers will be completely captivated in emphasising with the teen leads, all played well by the assembled actors, older folks may actually find themselves siding with the sick and twisted bald headed aggressor (especially if they regularly receive prank calls!) and the revelation of the grey area both sets of characters inhabit makes the movie far more fascinating and enjoyable especially come the killer climax.
I would highly recommend Don’t Hang Up as although its influences are obvious it is one of the best modern horror’s I have seen in some time balancing the right amount of gore, scares and tension alongside everything else with a great plot line that perfectly pays off.
Maybe make sure you turn off your mobile while you watch it however as you don’t want any unexpected calls freaking you out during the petrifying proceedings.