Don't hang up


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I watched this over the weekend:

The premise is a good one: Teenagers have been making crank calls to put the audio (along with video commentary) on YouTube. One of the people they pranked comes for revenge. The problem is the "protagonists" are completely unlikable and the "villain" is very relate able. I was rooting for the villain.

Spoilers ahead:


The pranked caller seeking revenge is far too omnicompetent. He hacks their laptop camera (which has been done in real life) but also hacks their TV, landline phones and cell phones to the point they cannot even dial 911 without the call going directly to them. That is something I would be fine with in a sci-fi movie. For a movie set in the real world, it is a bit much.

But here's the kicker: The "protagonists" got what they deserved. The villain wins, and that makes it a happy ending.

The movie opens with a crank call to a woman alone with her daughter while her husband is on a business trip. The "protagonists" manage to convince the woman they are police and there are intruders in her home who are holding her daughter hostage. She grabs a gun and goes to rescue her daughter... accidentally shooting and killing the little girl. Grief-stricken, she then kills herself.  The husband wants revenge.

First, we have the Tiradesverse trope that there are no police. A murder-suicide like that would have been investigated, and the "protagonists" put video of themselves pranking this woman the night of the murder on the internet. The "villain" (or, in my opinion, the real hero) would have to get to them inside a jail cell after they are convicted of reckless homicide.

Accepting they were never caught is a huge suspension of disbelief.

Basically, these teen punks murdered his wife and daughter and he takes revenge. I have no sympathy for the teen punks (who are totally unlikable DudeBro / Guy Banter jerks even beyond the pranking scheme they have going) and all the sympathy in the world for the grieving father/husband. Had this movie been told from the "villain's" perspective, he would be a hero.

Despite the flaws, I found it an enjoyable movie. And that really is the standard for when I assign a letter grade.

Final Grade: B

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