Hangman's Curse (12-Sep-2003)|
Director: Rafal Zielinski
Writers: Stan Foster; Kathy Mackel
From novel: Hangman's Curse by Frank Peretti
Review by Sam Bailey (posted on 21-May-2007)
Before we get on with this review, let's make it clear what we're reviewing here. If you're a hard-core horror-loving moviegoer who wants a bloody, gory slasher flick, then you'd best better be looking somewhere else, because you sure aren't gonna find it here.
Frank Peretti, who wrote the novel that this movie is based off of, has been described as the "king of the Christian fiction genre". He has written novels like "This Present Darkness", which gives insight into spiritual warfare, and "Tilly", which confronts the issue of abortion when a woman has a dream and meets all of the "children with no names or mothers".
Kind of changed your thoughts about this movie, huh?
Make no mistake, Frank Peretti's books can be downright scary and intense when he makes them that way. Personally, the novel is a great book. Unfortunately, this movie is a poor, sad adaption.
Bad acting on almost all parts plagues the film, as does bad camera work. It's seriously hard to actually care about what goes on when the protagonist is not very likeable or well-played. Frank Peretti actually appears as the "mad scientist" near the end of the movie, and his portrayal is really true to his real-life personality and is enjoyable. However, for the most part the acting could have been much, much better.
The storyline, which, in the book, was well-explained, descriptive, and interesting, was nowhere near this standard in the movie. The basic premise involves a student who hung himself ten years ago after being harassed by bullies, and his ghost is now returning for those who summon him to seek vengeance on the bullies of a present-day high school. Okay, not the most original plot in teh world, but, pretty good. The problem is that with confusing dialogue, stilted speech, and hard-to-follow scenes, it's very difficult to "get" what's going on. The sting operation to catch the drug dealers is a perfect example. Throughout the whole scene, I had NO clue what was happening. I'm sorry to say that most of this goes on throughout the whole movie.
Another gripe was in the groaning moment - make that groaning moments - when the film fell back on the "scary guy jumps out of the shadows" routine in an attempt to make us "terrified". The movie had the potential to be downright white-knuckeled scared in moments but still keep Frank Peretti's family-friendly nature intact. But it didn't. The "scary" scenes are hardly even realistic. When Elisha sees something scary pop out, screams overdramatically, and steps backwards about half a dozen steps into a metal bar and gets knocked unconscious, I had absolutely no sympathy for her whatsoever.
There are tons of other cheesey moments in this film as well, and it'd be pointless to even mention all of them, as, by now, you're probably convinced that you won't be seeing this movie at all.
There are a few "saving graces". The "mystery" as to who the cult leader was was halfway decent, and the scene when Elisha bites her knife-weilding attacker and knees him in the groin is always priceless. But, on the overall this movie's just not worth it. Go out and buy the book.
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