Returning from vacation, the Miller family find their home has been broken into. After cleaning up the mess they continue with their lives, shaking off the feeling of being violated. But little do they know the nightmare has just begun.
In the film, HANGMAN, a family: Aaron and Beth and their kids, Marley and Max return home from a vacation, to find that their home has been ransacked. With items in the house strewn about, the scene is a little chaotic to the family of 4. However, it would appear that whomever is responsible caused the disruption has left the scene of the crime. But, that couldn't be further from the truth. That's because the man responsible, is still in the house, quietly tucked away in the attic. Not only that, but he has planted cameras all through the house. And when the family heads to bed at night, the mysterious man goes on the prowl, sometimes being only inches away from the sleeping family. He watches their every move, waiting for the most opportune time to strike.
When requesting HANGMAN, a film co-written and directed by Adam Mason, I probably should have researched it a little more, because I was not aware that it was of the found footage type. That is indeed the type of film that it is, so going in, as I am not really a fan of found footage, I wasn't exactly looking forward to it. But with that said, to its credit, HANGMAN does offer up some of its own elements making HANGMAN one that is not a complete bore.
That's because although HANGMAN is in the lame first-person camera style, it goes about things rather uniquely. First off, what we see here, isn't exactly "found footage". It is just called that, on account of its setup and style. I liked that this film actually gave some reason behind the idea of cameras being present all of the time. It's because the killer himself, has cleverly placed cameras around the house. And while roaming around the house at night, and during other instances, he carries with him a hand held camera - thus explaining every use of camera used in the film. At least in this case we aren't dealing with magically invisible cameras that just so happen to be on at times that they shouldn't. Next, it definitely has its story going for it, I mean, any story which sees an intruder living in the same house as an unsuspecting family, is truly scary. Not to mention that the said intruder roams around the premises at night, and other times, such as when they take showers. He even spies on those making love via surveillance cameras. HANGMAN handles these moments in a way that are admittedly chilling. Some of these instances are simple, yet effective. Eventually, also nicely emphasized is the mental state of the intruder/killer. I liked the way this was handled. Occuring usually when the family would leave the house, leaving him all alone, he goes into emotional fits, most resembling "Billy" from BLACK CHRISTMAS, which I want to believe, was probably the inspiration. These fits of rage are a glimpse into who this individual is, yet, they don't really tell us WHO he is. In fact, we truly never know who this guy is, which of course makes for the better here. That brings me to talk about what works best in HANGMAN, and that is the film's ending. It is top notch eerie. It goes down when the character of "Aaron"(played by Jeremy Sisto) discovers that there is someone living in his attic. With the assumption that no one is up there at the present time, he decides to go up and investigate further, yet much to his surprise(and ours), the killer is somehow lying in wait. It's a creepy sequence. And the way in which the killer finally reveals himself is cool, as he slowly creeps down from the attic.
So, with that said, HANGMAN does have its truly effective moments, but of course, they are spaced out, as the film is never able to maintain a constant level of suspense. So there is some waiting in between as the film stages its better moments.
Though the cast features Jeremy Sisto in the lead, and features a brief appearance of Amy Smart as "Beth's(Kate Ashfield) best friend(I don't really remember seeing her), these characters could have been played by basically anyone, because this film is more so about the killer and his actions, rather than the would be victims. Not a bad thing. That is just how it is set up.
Overall, while not a great film, i'd say that HANGMAN is an ok effort, simply for the fact that it has an approach that is plausible, and its suspense sometimes works. And that it relies on the notion that, the lesser the details, the better.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Yes, going into the film, the thought of going into yet another "found footage" film, didn't excite me in the least. But I have to hand it to the film, in that it approached things in an interesting way - giving us what the killer himself sees via a range of cameras. Yes, it still has the typical slow moments, but in between, there are some moments that really no elevate the film above being the typical fare. It is definitely worth seeing at least once(especially for its ending). However, beyond that I do not believe its replay value to be very high.
This film well be released on Blu-Ray/DVD, and VOD on February 9, 2016