Very disturbing, unsettling and terrifying, the movie Hangman has come to home video on Blu-ray and DVD. The actors play out their roles as we see them on video tape much like films The Blair Witch Project and the hidden cams in Paranormal Activity. This one however brings with it a good measure of believability and possibility surrounding a mass murderer. The film claims to be based on a true story.
The Millers, Aaron (Jeremy Sisto), Beth (Kate Ashfield), Marley (Ryan Simpkins) and Max (Ty Simpkins) leave their car at the airport on their way to a two week vacation. An intruder (Eric Michael Cole) breaks into their car and uses their GPS to lead him to their home. All the while he is using a hand held camera to record his breaking and entering. The creepy guy even records the family photos on the wall. Taking one of their past vacation DVD’s he plays it on their player, watching the family having fun.
He studies each family member and their movements during their previous trip showing on the video. Then he sets up hidden cameras throughout the house then lays in wait. Upon returning the family walks into their trashed home. So begins a story of nightmares and debauchery with a person that has a sick sense of humor, and he’s psychotic to boot.
Noted for a number of horror flicks as a writer and director, Adam Mason takes you into one of the most terrifying situations one can find themselves. Very unsettling his movie poses a nightmare not far-fetched from reality. But, to be even more diabolical, the killer has it all on tape. Hangman’s one of the most spooky films I’ve seen in years, especially since it’s not uncommon to read about break-ins in most of our neighbors these days.
The acting really makes the film work with Jeremy Sisto as Aaron getting the feel that there’s something not right, yet knowing he has to go back to work after the two week vacation. He tries to keep the family calm hoping they will survive the disconcerting event that has popped up in their life.
But the showstopper performance comes from Kate Ashfield as Beth. She’s so believable in her role of the housewife who knows someone must be lurking, but avoids making the rest of the family jumpy. She plays her character as if it is really happing in real time and as the audience you can feel the danger as we see what she doesn’t. You know you want to scream “don’t go in there”, even though it’s just a movie? Well you’ll have the opportunity to do that watching Beth as she moves around the house doing chores and living though a nightmare.
The film may make you want to order that alarm system you have avoided getting due to the cost. Or not happy that you bought that car with the guidance system without having some way to disable it when need be. Well this film, although just a movie mind you, can make you jumpy through the night after watching what this family goes through.
Hangman has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence, gore and language. If you are squeamish, easily frightened, faint of heart, live alone, conducive to nightmares or afraid of the dark, then do not watch this film. Wow, that’s a first for this critic. I usually tell my readers not to see a film because of the bad production, storyline, directing and acting, but it’s the fright factor here that becomes the warning. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad when you are a critic, but I’m not a panderer to filmmakers.
Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have some scenes that are very disturbing and inappropriate for adolescents.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Watch the film only if you are capable of knowing it’s “just a movie”. (D-)
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Jeremy Sisto, Kate Ashfield, Ryan Simpkins, Ty Simpkins, Eric Michael Cole
Directed and Written by: Adam Mason
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, Contains violence
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Running Time: 1 hr. 25 min.
Video Release Date: February 9, 2015
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray (also available on DVD)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Number of Discs: 1 Disc
Distributed by: Alchemy