February 22, 2016

VOD Review: Hangman (2016)

"This movie didn't make us want to hang ourselves. I think that's a compliment."

Back in 2008, director Adam Mason gave us another solid Thriller with The Devil's Chair (review HERE), and after seeing his latest effort, Hangman, it's clear that the guy has knack for knowing what scares us.

At first glance, we assumed that Hangman was just another in a long line of Direct-To-DVD Found Footage flicks that had a cool poster, but would ultimately end up underwhelming us.

While it did have its issues, Hangman ended up getting under our skin and sticking with us way more than we expected it to.

When the Miller family arrives at the airport to head off on vacation, some creeper (the Hangman) films them and breaks into their car, where he retrieves their home address from the OnStar computer, and heads over to their home. Then he breaks in, sets up cameras in every room, and makes a little hidden room for himself in the attic.

When the family arrives back home, they're alarmed to find their house trashed, so they call the Cops who tell them that it was probably a bunch of kids looking to party or something, and not to worry because it happens all the time. Right. After cleaning up the house, the family settles back into their routines, and the Hangman starts coming out of the attic at night, watching them sleep, drinking their orange juice, and rubbing his junk on things around the house.

This goes on for another 45 minutes or so, in movie time.

Along the way, a few people get killed; everyone drinks the Hangman's spit; he jerks off while watching the husband and wife make sweet love; he watches the daughter and her boyfriend make out at Inspiration Point; and he keeps messing with the young son, driving the kid mad. And we have no idea why.

If they had only had a dog...

The idea of someone being in your house without your knowledge is a pretty terrifying one; I know I've had that feeling that I wasn't alone when I should be, and it's always unsettling when it happens. Hangman does a great job of playing on that dynamic, which made for a mostly intense and uncomfortable watch. 

After watching Hangman, I was walking around the house in the middle of the night, and caught myself checking the corners of my room for cameras. I felt instantly ridiculous when I realized it was because of some stupid movie I had just watched a few hours back, but it sure stuck with me enough to mess with my mind for a while, which is saying something.

The opening scene was pretty intense and brutal, as was the final one. And while lagging a bit in the middle, the movie somehow managed to deliver plenty of intense and disturbing moments that genuinely skeeved us out. For a Found Footage flick, Hangman did a lot right.

The family, and the cast that played them, were all likable enough, even if there were a few moments when their actions made us shake our heads. Jeremy Sisto has always been cool with us, and it was nice seeing Amy Smart on-screen, even if it was only briefly.

The movie could have used a bit of a trim, especially in its mid-section. After a pretty strong opening, the movie settles into a routine where the Hangman watches the family, acts creepy, watches the family, acts creepy... and doesn't really "do" much of anything until towards the end. A lot of that repetitiveness was effective for the most part, but it did drag in places.

An even bigger issue for us was the Hangman himself. What was his motivation? I mean, the guy spent a lot of time and effort to wire the house with cameras so he could observe the family, but why? And honestly, how was he able to afford so many cameras, monitors, etc.. when all he did was hide in peoples attics, watching them day in and day out, and ultimately murder them? Was he secretly rich or something? And how did he select his families?

We want answers!

After a pretty effective, and very lengthy build-up, the ending didn't really give us that great of a payoff. I guess we were expecting an intense, middle-of-the-night stalk & slash sequence where the Hangman killed everyone, but what we got felt more like a half-measure of that. I don't know, it all happened quick, and given the brutality of the murders earlier in the movie, it just wasn't as nasty as we were expecting it to be. And honestly... SPOILER It felt like a bit of a cop-out to have the kids conveniently out of the house at the end when the nasty stuff went down. SPOILER.

The opening murder video was much creepier, and much more effective.

There are only a few kill scenes in the movie, but they're pretty intense and brutal when they do happen.

The Hangman watches a husband and wife have sex, which has a bit of grainy nudity. He also works one out while he watches, which we don't get to see, which we're completely fine with.

Don't go on vacation, it's just not worth it. Also, having OnStar will most likely get you killed.

Even though Hangman felt at times like a typical Found Footage flick that had its share of issues, it was pretty effective in establishing a creepy, intense atmosphere, and skeeving us out with the actions of the titular character. If the idea of someone being in your house while you're unaware terrifies you, then this movie will probably give you a at least a few sleepless nights.


Hangman is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.


The lovely Kate Ashfield and Amy Smart are in this, and it's not the first movie that they've starred in together.


  1. I gotta respectfully disagree on this one. Hangman is a strong contender for the worst film of the year for me and will definitely be in the running at the end of the year. I hated every minute of it. First off, it's FF, second, it's Home Invasion - two genres that rarely have quality films to begin with but add them together and this is EXACTLY what I expected. Most importantly however, much of the movie was basically some dude moving around lamps and leaving orange juice out and shit! The first scene of him standing over the bed was effective but that's about it. The cops not checking the attic was inexcusable and the family, whoa, don't get me started on how dumb these characters were. This was almost as bad as Unfriended.

    Still, love you guys!

  2. I personally didn't find this anywhere near as bad as Unfriended, but you make some valid points. I guess it was a middle of the road grade for us because the parts that did work well (the stabbings, some of the creepy stalking)work really well, and it balanced things out for us a bit.

    I won't argue with anyone sying it sucked though. I get completely it.

    1. I'm just glad you didn't like Unfriended. To me that is the worst film of last year and possibly one of the worst Horror films of all time. The positive response I've read for that film is unreal.

  3. No way, Chaybee. Unfriended was awful. It put some of us in foul moods lol

  4. This unexpectedly showing at my local cinema, along with The Other Side of the Door. Gotta check it out both on weekend.

    By the way, I like Unfriended. Speaking of Unfriended, have you seen Friend Request? Same premise, minus it's not found footage. I like the ending better than Unfriended, something that I wish Unfriended gave to us. Too bad, Friend Request relies on cheap jump scares too much.

    1. There's another Friend Request which is a "bigger" movie that is soming out later this year too. Just so ya know, if you like that new "tech" sub-genre.

      We will never agree on Unfriended :)~

    2. Yeah, I've seen The "lesser" Friend Request solely because Anthony Michael Hall and Martin Kove were in it. The only thing good about it was that Anthony Michael Hall and Martin Kove were in it.

  5. Just watched this. Personally, I think this kinda hybrid of Hollow Man without the sci-fi thing, and Paranormal Activity without the supernatural thing. Yes, I agreed. As similar as Jeruzalem, the opening scene feel much better than the actual film.