Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hangin' Tough

Ah, the Internet. A place that lets you do virtually anything, be it pay your credit card bills, partake in ant porn, apply for jobs, learn how to open champagne bottles without losing an eye, or meet fellow depressed people and form a complex yet ill-defined suicide pact that has something to do with Tarot cards.
Welcome to The Hanged Man.
Quick Plot: A mixed bag of sad people who have met online gather at a rural barn, the plan being group suicide once their webmaster, the nerdily named Dwarfstar arrives. The group--who refer to each other only by their screennames--includes the following:
-SoCo, a moody young man always getting kicked out chatrooms

-Flash, a tried and true cowboy who shows he is such by wearing a hat
-LT56, a middle aged maybe stockbroker with a tragic past
-X-Factor, a British talent competition about--oh, I mean, a serious woman who’s not very interesting
-Spaceshot, an appropriately named spacey blond
-and lastly, Miles, a man in need of both a better Internet handle and shirt
Nobody really likes each other and we have no reason to like any of them, but hey, we’ve got another 90 minutes to go so let’s talk. Without their ringleader, the gang is completely lost as to how to proceed, even throwing fits when someone dares to try to kill them (even though, as one character points out, they came to this place to die anyway). Through a few convenient conversations, we learn a little more about what brought these people to this point: LT56 (or Jerry, or best yet, Bruno from the Toni year of Beverly Hills, 90210) lost his family in 9/11. X-Factor had a suicidal mom (and maybe another secret). Spaceshot was abused by her father, Miles is dying, Flash is repressing some shame and SoCo is just kind of a jerk. Eventually, an unlucky/ominous sheriff enters the picture and tension slowly simmers. Kind of.

The Hanged Man isn’t necessarily a good film, but it does go for something somewhat different than your typical straight to DVD horror. I recently started watching Felicia Day’s adorable web series, The Guild, a comedy about awkward computer gamers whose lives get a tad more awkward when they finally meet. The Hanged Man could almost be the horror version of it, except without most of the entertainment (or X!) factor.
See, it’s been about 5 days since I watched The Hanged Man and quite frankly, I can barely remember anything about it. There was a twist ending that was--I think--somewhat surprising. Maybe. A lot of screen cheats. Angry people I didn't care about in the least and stuff happened to them. 

At a certain point, there were credits. I guess this was that kind of movie.
High Points
I don't want to delve too far into spoilers, but there's a homosexual storyline I didn't see coming that was handled rather decently for a film that was otherwise pretty mediocre
Low Points
As I said, there's just nothing overly sympathetic about any of our characters, making slogging through the film a rather emotionless experience

Lessons Learned
Throwing a gun at a person is perfectly safe
Bigots eat hater tots (which I assume taste better with ketchup)
People who feel like outcasts and spend the majority of their lives whining about the world on the Internet are generally much more in shape and attractive than the majority of happy well-adjusted members of society
As the far superior 7 Mummies taught us already, stock footage of spiders cannot ever be used enough onscreen

It might sound odd if I say I'm intrigued by suicide pacts, but I am odd and I said it, and that premise was indeed the reason I rented The Hanged Man. On that front, it's a definite disappointment. I never really bought these people as hovering over the edge, and their interactions with one another lacked just about any form of chemistry. Still, it's competently shot and acted and does try some different things with its story. I would ambivalently--very ambivalently, oxymoron be damned--recommend a stream if it comes on Instant or cable, but nothing more.


  1. Thanks for taking the bullet, looks like one I will avoid.

    That is a great spider shot though.

  2. Sadly it's not even from the movie! The spiders-for-scene-changes in The Hanged Man are more the skinny colorful variety.

  3. Myself, I find so-called 'murder pacts' far more interesting. Things like tontines are usually a great gaurantee for an awesome and treacherous plot. (I still don't undestand who would actually wait until they're old and grey and all of their fellow pactees are dead before claiming the agreed treasure.)

  4. Whoa, ant porn? Colour me intrigued.

    That sounds much more interesting than this filmed entertainment.

  5. Chris, I clearly need to learn more about murder pacts! Just don't tell anyone I said that. Nobody's listening, right?

    And TD9 (your new robotically awesome nickname), I would certainly agree that watching most animals have sex is probably more interesting than The Hanged Man.

  6. Saw the trailer for this one on my cable's on demand service. Looked pooey. Thanks for taking one for the team.

  7. No shame in being fascinated with suicide pacts. I am too. And the subject is just dying (pardon the pun) to be tackled well. Let's have a movie that really tears the scab off the wound. Why do people do this? What makes them tick? You can still do it as a horror flick...better that than some talky pretentious "indie." But yeah, do it...go there. Make it a good movie.

    Hadn't heard of this one. Sorry to hear it wasn't worth it.

  8. Anytime PoT. Consider it even stevens for what I imagine the results were for Haunted Casino.

    Dusty: Agreed. There's so much potential in that type of mindset, but meh here. Maybe next time!