Hangman Blu-ray Review

A Masked Killer Is Hiding…In the Attic!

Adam Mason’s Hangman is a low-key thriller built around a fairly creepy idea. A sadistic home invader hides in a family’s attic, watching the family’s every move with a series of spy cams the masked man has installed throughout their home. Starring Jeremy Sisto and Kate Ashfield as the parents, the found-footage film is a slickly made film that has problems with its pacing and a dull opening act. Hangman is strictly rental material for horror fans. Its slowly building terror introduces some original ideas but fails to hit its full potential.

Aaron (Jeremy Sisto) and Beth Miller (Kate Ashfield) return from a two-week vacation with their two children to find their home has been ransacked and rummaged through by an intruder. Unbeknownst to the family, a creepy masked stranger has blanketed their house with spy cameras and is now stealthily living in their attic.

This man slowly begins terrorizing the family as they sleep over the next few weeks. Messing with the family by moving objects around and slyly manipulating the family members from afar, the household’s sense of peace begins to fall apart. His attention mostly seems to focus on the women in the household, Beth and the Millers’ teenage daughter, Marley. Amy Smart makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo as the Millers’ friend.

Hangman completely embraces the found-footage genre’s conventions with its nod toward static video shots and fuzzy night-vision views. If you can’t handle that, look elsewhere for your scares. The killer’s network of hidden spy cameras tell the entire story, from his first intrusion into the home through the movie’s bloody ending.

The cast gives solid, capable performances, almost entirely relying on Jeremy Sisto and Kate Ashfield.

The deliberate pacing is reminiscent of the Paranormal Activity franchise, especially the dull opening act once past a brief teaser in the opening scene. The cast gives solid, capable performances, almost entirely relying on Jeremy Sisto and Kate Ashfield. The real star of this show is supposed to be the faceless, nameless killer lurking in their apparently spacious attic.

Beyond the slow pacing, Hangman fails at turning the masked killer sneaking around the home as a truly frightening, intimidating figure. Seen through own his cameras creepily watching the Millers sleep in their bed or stealing some of their orange juice, the silent stranger comes off as a garden-variety disturbed individual, nothing more and nothing less. The intruder is hardly given much of a personality until the final act when things finally start clicking into place. I suspect the slow burn of this twisted psychological home invasion will have already lost some viewers when it finally gets good. A final act does pay off.

Hangman plays with an interesting concept and its mostly polished thrills will terrify some people. Light on real horror until the closing act, this is a movie for those into voyeuristic found-footage thrills. Even clocking in under eighty-five minutes, something probably should have been done to spice up its overly slow first hour.

Movie ★★★☆☆

Hangman Blu-ray screen shot 6

As a found-footage horror film, Hangman wasn’t made with an eye on its picture quality. Much of its 1080P video is either fuzzy consumer video shot on smaller cameras or has the familiar glow of night-vision mode.

Distributed by Alchemy, the 84-minute main feature is encoded in a nice AVC video encode. It averages a steady 26.97 Mbps on a BD-25 with zero compression problems.

Interiors boast fairly sharp clarity in the 1.78:1 widescreen presentation. Some shots with wide-angle lenses are wonky but thankfully the camera footage sharpens up when the family members are going about their everyday activities inside the home. This is consistent video intentionally limited by the filmmakers. Alchemy has done an excellent job with the Blu-ray transfer. Hangman likely looks as good as it could possibly look.

Video ★★★☆☆

Hangman’s 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is a sparse, limited affair for a new release. The mostly quiet film adheres to the recording limitations of the killer’s supposed cameras. That results in an ordinary sound mix with little surround activity, if any. The few scenes that do emphasize heavy sonic action have a bloated mid-bass and are mildly annoying in relation to the rest of the film’s more muted sound. Dialogue is intelligible throughout the movie.

Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles display in a white font. A pointless 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack at 192 kbps is a second audio option.

Audio★★☆☆☆

Alchemy includes a slipcover and the movie’s trailer as the lone special features.

Hangman Trailer (01:16 in HD)

Alchemy Trailers (02:11 in HD; 03:37 in HD) – Trailers for Howl, Frankenstein and Charlie’s Farm play before the main menu and can also be selected individually from the menu.

Extras ☆☆☆☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been manipulated in any way during the process.