There was a period in time where I was in love with the found footage sub-genre and had to get my hands on as many films that fell into the category as possible. Needless to say, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even with all of those found footage films under my belt, however, I still reach a certain level of excitement when a new one crosses my path. How does Adam Mason’s Hangman stack up against the rest the sub-genre has to offer…?
The Millers return home from a beautiful family vacation only to find that their house has been broken into and ransacked. Naturally, they call the local police department and have their handyman replace all of the locks. Unfortunately for them, what they don’t realize is that the culprit has made a nice little home for himself in their attic and is watching their every move, thanks to a whole slew of hidden cameras he has installed all throughout the house.
Found footage films have the potential to be the most frightening of all horror cinema. When done right, they can be the most authentic, and the ‘handheld camera’ technique makes things way more personal and in your face. Hangman certainly capitalizes on this aspect of the sub-genre and feels like it could be happening in real life the entire way through. Imagine you’re going through your daily routine — go to work, enjoy friends’ company, play with your kids — only to find out someone has been watching you do it all from right inside of your own home the entire time. That, in and of itself, is terrifying. The execution of this horrifying scenario, however, leaves something to be desired.
While Hangman doesn’t waste any time getting into the thick of things, the majority of the film is rather mundane and slow-moving. The intruder, played by Eric Michael Cole (White Squall), is clearly very disturbed as made evident by various fits of uncontrollable sobbing that can be seen multiple times throughout the film’s 85 minutes. Regardless of this fact, he doesn’t do much to really torment the family other than spit into their orange juice a couple of times and try to frame Aaron (Jeremy Sisto, TV’s “Suburgatory”) for having an affair. This is somewhat made up for when he finally does decide to off the family, but it kind of feels like the good old ‘too little, too late’ scenario, especially because it happens so quickly. The speedy demise of the couple then abruptly cuts to a new family on camera, alluding to the fact that our antagonist doesn’t plan on changing his ways anytime soon.
Hangman is a decent entry into the ever-growing found footage genre, but it isn’t the most exciting. It does offer quality performances from all parties and the overall production quality is up there with the best the genre has to offer. If director, Adam Mason, added just a little more ‘excitement’ to the mix, we could have had a really great flick on our hands. I am not counting Mason out, however, and hope to see some more grisly horror from the man who brought us Broken (2006) and Pig (2010) in the near future.
If you’re looking to add another found footage movie to your horror collection, be sure to pick up a copy of Hangman, available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Alchemy.
I give this one 2.5 sideways Popeye the Sailor Man episodes out of 5.