The only thing more tired than CCTV-found footage movies is trailers for CCTV-found footage movies. At this point – with Paranormal Activity 6 on the horizon – it feels like there is little left to see in the way of groundbreaking, fresh scares. It is one of the greatest downfalls of the modern film industry that as soon as someone comes up with an interesting idea, there is suddenly a tidal wave of slight variations on the same theme, and the audience very quickly becomes desensitised to what once was something powerful and effective. But, possibly, the door should not be shut on CCTV-found footage movies just yet. Not until Hangman gets an airing, anyway.
Selected to premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, Hangman is directed by Adam Mason (Junkie), who also co-writes with Simon Boyes (Not Safe For Work). It is a story that reaches for us right where we are most vulnerable – sleeping in our beds.
“Returning from vacation, the Miller family find their home has been broken into. After cleaning up the mess they continue their lives, shaking off the feeling of being violated. But little do they know the nightmare has just begun.”
That nightmare is something that we inevitably get an idea of from the trailer, but in a very unusual and exceptionally effective way. Snippets of CCTV footage from inside the home of the Miller family unspool, overlaid with a recording of a 911 call. The footage begins by showing a loving, happy family going about their daily lives – but a hysterically terrified woman is reporting to police that there is someone in the house. As the 911 dispatcher attempts to deal with her call, the snippets of footage begin to intensify in both speed and content, and the woman becomes more and more hysterical – until the line goes dead, and the footage finally matches up with the beginning of her call.
If this trailer is a true representation of the way in which Hangman is put together, then it will almost certainly be one of the more effective and disturbing horror movies in recent years. We will find out one way or the other when it premieres at SXSW on Saturday March 14th, 2015.