MOVIE REVIEW: “Hangman” stars Al Pacino (Scarface, Glengarry Glen Ross), Karl Urban (Star Trek Into Darkness, The Chronicles of Riddick), Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect, Hairspray ), Joe Anderson (The Grey, Across the Universe), Sarah Shahi (Bullet to the Head, Alias [TV series]), Sloane Warren (Speech & Debate, Bless Yer Heart [TV series]), and Chelle Ramos (Saints & Sinners [TV series], Valor [TV series]). It was directed by Johnny Martin (Vengeance: A Love Story, Delirium ), and written by Michael Caissie (Sin Origen, Orchard) and Charles Huttinger (Speak of the Devil [TV movie], Luke 11:17 [TV series]). When a woman turns up hung with a letter carved into her chest, Detective Will Ruiney (Urban) brings in Ray Archer (Pacino), a retired cop, to find the culprit who did it before he strikes again, as a real-life game of hangman ensues.
Ever wonder what Al Pacino would sound like in a southern Louisiana accent? Well you’re in luck my friend, because “Hangman” has it! Operating as a TV movie with better performances, this crime flick serves an interesting case with adequate execution. Basically, it’s an alright movie to watch on a rainy night with nothing to do, but it doesn’t scream riveting or high-class. What the killer does to his victims is gruesome, though not much else takes a huge risk when it comes to storytelling. It’s a disappointment, considering how this film revolves around an unknown man slowly spelling out a word by hanging a person every twenty-four hours. The word he puts in a blank is carved on the victim’s chest, and the sight can be rather disgusting. I will say that this concept is alluring. I haven’t seen a detective case like this and the true fun this movie emanates is the journey of finding out who is killing these people and bringing them to justice (as most detective pictures do). The first act was interesting, setting up the case and introducing us to the characters. I’ve grown to like Pacino through the two features I reviewed on this site, but he seemed tired in this outing. There wasn’t much life or expression in his performance, and the accent he gave was too distracting to ever take him as serious as the writers wanted. Karl Urban also tried to use this southern accent, but did horrible. Most times he sounded like his regular self, but certain words he said would come off as if he was trying to force some twang. Maybe the director shot some scenes with the accent, but halfway through production he just tossed it, leaving us with only some “southern” Karl Urban. Either way, it was terrible, and it’s quite possibly the worst performance I’ve seen handed in by the actor. I thought the chemistry between him and Pacino was alright, and Brittany Snow did a good job, but overall the acting seemed phoned in. Snow did the best out of everyone and actually seemed like she was trying her best; unfortunately, the other actors were different. Granted, their performances were better than most TV movie acting (as I stated earlier), but they could’ve clearly approached this with more gravitas. Because of this, I didn’t really care for their characters, besides Snow’s that is. I understood what the writers were trying to get at, but a man losing his wife (Urban’s character) has been done too many times to be portrayed lazily. It’s kind of the easy way out in terms of giving a character motivation, and Urban’s character Ruiney followed all of the tropes, but without the tension or Oscar-Worthy performance. I didn’t grow ill of these characters per se; I just wasn’t as involved. The murder case was the only thing that held weight in this movie, and while the hunt was intriguing to watch unfold (they did a good job of laying out clues), it all led to a bad finale. I’m not one to argue for a happy ending, but I am a person who champions closure, and “Hangman” doesn’t give it. Why don’t they? Because they want to set up a sequel. Yes folks, the whole journey you watch is practically for nothing, as any attempt at a solid ending is thrown out the door in hopes for some more cash to be made in a follow-up. I wouldn’t have minded it if the story worked itself up to be that way, but the funny thing is… it didn’t! The case was resolved as clear as it could be, with some heartache sprinkled in to give the characters some “depth.” To set up a sequel would be unwarranted and unethical, which these writers did anyway. Jokes on them though: this was released to limited theaters (the internet before that) and has been crapped on by everybody; they aren’t getting that second outing, and we never wanted it (if you wanna know what they did in detail, look in the spoiler section below). FINAL SCORE: 58%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
WARNING: BELOW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
So, the ending saw Detective Ruiney and Archer catching the killer before he could hang Christi Davies. Unfortunately, it saw the death of Archer as he was stabbed by the killer before he was chucked down some stairs. Ruiney shot the killer as he was bleeding out through the head, ending this madness once and for all. A funeral was held for Archer, but the moment flees when Ruiney is approached by some random kid with a note (he said in a corny fashion “here you go mister”). The note had another hangman game, with one letter filled in, meaning another person has been murdered. BULL CRAP! The fact that Archer figured out who the hangman was, and the writers showing flashbacks to indicate that he was their guy, means that what’s done is done. They caught their guy! The writers made it so airtight in that regard that any notion that someone else was behind it is just random and nonsensical. Of course, it could be a copycat, but do we really wanna go through that mess again? What’s different this time? We’ve already had enough of the concept of this game being a reality through the entirety of this picture. To make a sequel is just repetitive! It’s not like we have solid characters to lean on in the follow-up, because the case was the only thing worth watching in this movie! “Hangman” clearly has one of the worst endings I’ve seen all year.