LA Film Fest Review: DON'T HANG UP from directors Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot

There were many films that impressed me while attending LA Film Fest, but the one film that surprised me the most was Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot’s DON’T HANG UP.  Prior to going to the premiere, I didn’t know much about the film except for the brief synopsis I saw online.  DON’T HANG UP centers around two teenage boys, Sam (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady (Garrett Clayton), who after a night of drinking and prank calling begin to receive threatening calls from a stranger that has decided to use their game against them.

The film itself has a simple plot but it packs a powerhouse of a punch that left me grinning from ear to ear.  Before the movie I was able to attend a small party for the premiere of DON’T HANG UP and while there, I met both Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot and asked them what I should expect from their film.  With grins on their faces they both informed me that if I was a fan of late-90’s slasher films then I would enjoy DON’T HANG UP.  As a budding teenager of the late 90’s, my knowledge of slasher films came from SCREAM and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER so knowing that DON’T HANG UP was going to be an homage to those films of the 90s immediately peaked my interest. 

Not only was DON’T HANG UP a love-letter to the films I mentioned above it was also a movie that was done really really well.  What I really loved about the movie was instead of seeing the cliche “damsel in distress” we instead got to see two guys begging for their lives (which was a breathe of fresh air for us women).  But what ended up being my favorite thing about this film had to have been the ending.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to give it away because that wouldn’t be nice, but what I can tell you is that this film doesn’t end on a happy note.  Too many times we watch films were the hero gets away and everyone lives happily ever after but in reality that’s usually never the case, and sometimes the line is blurred when it comes to who is the hero and who is the villain.  Not only did DON’T HANG UP show the audience the consequences that can unfold from a person’s actions but it also made us question if we really should be rooting for our protagonist or if we can justify the antagonist’s actions.  

This film could have easily been a cheesy teen horror flick but DON’T HANG UP went the extra mile to make not only the story stand out but to include actors that could really make the script believable.  The films main stars, Gregg Sulkin and Garretty Clayton, were casted perfect as teenagers being, well, teenagers but regardless of that they both gave strong performances that even evoked some emotions out of me.  For those who love violence and gore, you won’t be disappointed but don’t expect to see heads chopped off and guts spewed about, this is a movie that doesn’t need to rely on gore to get its message across.  As for the stranger who places the call, he embodied what creepy is; precise, calculated, and hidden within the shadows with a clear motive in mind.  When he finally does appear on his screen, the mask covering his face actually sent a chill down my spine - it was incredibly unnerving with an almost human quality to it.  

Overall, DON’T HANG UP ranks as one of the best horror films that I have seen in 2016.  As of right now there is no official release date but you can stay up to date with news and announcements by following them on social media at Facebook: www.facebook.com/Dont-Hang-Up, Twitter: www.twitter.com/DontHangUp and Instagram: www.instagram.com/donthangupthemovie.  This is definitely a film that shouldn’t be missed and I’m excited to see what else Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot have in store for us in the future.  If it’s anything like DON’T HANG UP then we are in for a real treat.