Don’t Hang Up is an American thriller film, directed by Alexis Wajsbrot and Damien Mace, starring Gregg Sulkin, Garrett Clayton, Bella Dayne and Jack Brett Anderson.
Gregg Sulkin and Garret Clayton play best friends Sam Fuller and Brady Mannion, respectively. They are the main leaders of a group of pranksters, that record their pranks and then upload them online, for the pleasure of an ever increasing fan base.
One afternoon, Sam and Brady reunite in Sam’s home. They are both alone, since Sam’s parents are away for the weekend. Sam is a little frustrated by virtue of his situation with his girlfriend, Peyton. So Brady decides they should grab the phone, and do some prank calls, to improve Sam’s mood.
After doing several more prank calls for their personal amusement, a stranger calls them. Despite telling both very bizarre things, Sam and Brady decide to shut off the call, dismissing it as an ordinary joke. Nevertheless, the stranger calls a few more times, and finally succeeds to attract the boys’ attentions, after telling them their complete names, and the addresses of their homes, to their total dismay.
Realizing they are in great danger, the two friends are progressively strained in a labyrinth of despair. Eventually, they dial 911, and hysterically tell to the attendant everything that is happening to them. Unfortunately, for their astonishment and unpleasant surprise, the person talking to them in the other side of the line reveals itself to be the mysterious prankster, who is effectively exerting control over every communicating device inside the house, including the television, by which he starts to send images of Brady’s parents. Sam also realizes that Peyton’s car is outside the house, which is strong evidence that she was probably captured by their mysterious aggressor. She had visited the two briefly in the beginning of the afternoon just after Mosley had left.
The mysterious assailant – who attends by the alias of “Mr. Lee” – soon reveals itself to be in complete control of the situation, and succeeds in viciously putting the two friends against each other. The mysterious prankster tries hard, in different occasions, to stimulate disagreement between them, even engaging in an effort to make the boys resort to murder each other in a secretive deal, first offering redemption to Brady if he kills Sam, and then to Sam, for killing Brady, but he fails both times. Nonetheless, he manages to increase the terror generated by his constant menaces, affirming that he is disposed to kill the boys’ loved ones, for he has nothing to lose. When analyzing, though, the images in the screen, Sam sees a clock behind Brady’s parents, with a two hour gap, indicating that they were seeing recorded, and not live images. As they were practically receiving calls from the mysterious prankster all the time, their communication was constant through the speakerphone, and Sam demands to see proof that Mosley and Peyton are still alive. In the meantime, Brady begins to suspect that his parents are no longer alive. Soon thereafter, the mysterious assailant talks to both Brady and Sam onscreen. When he leaves, it is possible to see Brady’s parents dead, both having their throats slit, much to the complete horror of both.
The attacker then shows them that he has, in fact, their friend Mosley in his power, and suffocates him with a plastic bag, for Brady and Sam’s complete shock. Suddenly, Sam sees in the screen the picture of a little girl, which was the profile picture of a person who requested his friendship in a social network earlier. Upon searching the personal page of this individual, he sees on the profile several pictures of him and Brady, as well as Peyton, Mosley, and a lot of their friends, several of them going as far as a year ago. Terrified, they conclude that they had been watched for months, or possibly, more than a year.
The two friends begin to suspect the mysterious assailant to be inside the house, or nearby, and they decide to check it out. Sam frees Brady, they arm themselves with a baseball bat and a knife, respectively, and decide to confront the maniac that is harassing them.
For his shock and horror, Sam discovers Mosley’s body in the back door, with a plastic bag all over his face. Mosley’s body falls when Sam opens the door, but the corpse is tied with a rope to the door frame. Desperate, thinking there is a chance of Mosley being alive, Sam rips off the plastic bag from the face of Mosley, and pulls it off from his head, just to discover, in horror, that his throat has been slit, and the tape around his neck securing the plastic bag was also preventing him from bleeding. In a matter of seconds, Mosley bleeds profusely and dies, to Sam’s complete affliction. Brady, by this point, gets exceedingly traumatized as well.
Returning to the backyard, Sam and Peyton see a masked assailant going their direction with a knife, trying to attack them. Sam manages to counterattack their aggressor, and stabs him with his own knife, killing him. Suddenly, he recognizes a tattoo in the arm of the assailant, the same tattoo Brady had shown him when he recently had arrived at his house. Desperate, he removes the mask of the attacker, and sees Brady, with a duct tape on his mouth. Realizing that he has killed his own friend, Sam cries in desperation.
Suddenly, the true attacker arrives, and reveals himself. When Sam asks the motive for all that aggression he has been inflicting on them, the mysterious assailant reveals the reason behind his actions. He was married to the woman victim of the prank shown in the beginning of the movie. When they called her, with the prank that their house has been invaded, she grabbed a gun in order to protect herself and their daughter. By the orders of the pranksters – that she thought was the police – she moved a balcony in front of the bedroom door, to protect her from the supposed invaders, since she hasn’t a key to lock the door. She put her cell phone above the balcony, but it fell off to the ground underneath the bed, when she moved the furniture again, to clear her way to her daughter’s bedroom, since she became desperate to check upon her child. No longer holding her cell phone, she hasn’t heard when the pranksters announced that everything was a joke. Unbeknownst to them, she wasn’t aware that she was the victim of a prank. Truly believing that her house was being invaded, she grabbed her gun, and decided to check upon her daughter. Seeing that she wasn’t in her bedroom, she panicked. When she heard the door next to her opening, she became frightened and gave a shot directly through the door. To her desperation, she shot her own daughter – who had only gone to the bathroom –, who died instantly. Profoundly disturbed by the tragedy, the woman put the gun against her chest and committed suicide. So the aggressor, identified as “Mr. Lee”, was the man taking vengeance upon his wife and daughter.
Sam cried in desperation, saying that it was never their intention to hurt anyone. Then the man stepped over Sam’s face, and a gunshot was heard. Suddenly, its morning, and we see Sam alive, waking up. He has a knife on his hand, and a gun on the other. Next to him, he sees the body of Brady, and going outside, the body of Peyton, who had been shot in the head. He doesn’t release neither the knife, nor the gun, suggesting that they might be stuck in his hands. In the living room, the video of Brady having sex with Peyton plays nonstop. Suddenly the police arrive in the scene, and the news is already noticing the terrible manslaughter that took place. Apparently, as the footage suggest, the massacre was executed by a sadistic young man, jealous of discovering that his best friend had cheated him with his girlfriend.
In the end, we see the photo of the little girl, used as picture for the profile “Mr. Lee” uses on the social network, making a friend request to another member of the group of pranksters, suggesting that he will continue his journey of vengeance.
Although this is not exactly a masterful movie, Don’t Hang Up has audacities and qualities that deserve to be praised. The movie has a cohesive story line, a plausible expectation of possibilities, credible plot scenarios and evaluations, good acting and a very genuine approach in what concerns the main elements of fear and tension.
Undoubtedly, while this movie can be considered, at least, in a more broad analysis, just one more flick, it is unquestionable the fact that there is a creative level and a consistent element of mordacious originality here. Although the central theme of an individual getting revenge from an inconsequential adolescent prank gone wrong has been explored in movies before, certainly this is one of the best exemplars released so far. Despite the conciseness of the story, the whole concept is intriguing, works out very well, is definitely coherent, and doesn’t disappoint, although there are some predictable aspects in the story as a whole.
Don’t Hang Up is not an extremely fascinating movie, and will not change your life. Nevertheless, certainly can be regarded as a minor gem precisely executed, and a marvelously good work of art. On this movie, we see two young adults having to deal with the consequences of a catastrophic wrongdoing, and gradually discovering the result of a tragedy for which they were the major responsible agents, but totally ignore the level of malevolence for what they have done.
With splendorous moments of tension, an inquisitive demand for affliction and wonderful components of dreadful expectation, Don’t Hang Up certainly will delight you with an amazing time of entertaining exhilaration. You can’t afford to miss this interesting thriller.