"ooh spooky... but not that spooky"
Hangman's Curse (15)
Dir. Rafal Zielinski
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
If there’s something strange, in the neighbourhood, who you gonna call? Well if you’re a devout Christian then you might call ‘The Veritas Project’ rather than your regular Ghostbusters because these guys are a Holy Living family who travel around in a high tech RV solving crimes that ‘might have a demonic element to them’…
Yes, the cheesy novel "The Veritas Project: Hangman's Curse" by prolific but not altogether talented author Frank Peretti got made into a movie back in ’03. I missed it then but decided that it might be worth checking out after getting into Surface and realising the cute lead actress Leighton Meester plays the godsquad daughter. But is there really a curse? Has the ghost of a bullied kid come back to wreak death on today’s mean jocks, or is something more human but equally sinister going on? And most importantly - where's Scooby-Doo?
So the Veritas Project (veritas being the Latin word for truth) are made up of Nate Springfield (David ‘looks like a rough Patrick Swayze’ Keith) takes a job at the school as a janitor, while mum Sarah (Mel Harris) runs the investigation from behind the scenes. Twins Elisha and Elijah Springfield (Leighton Meester and Douglas Smith) get to join the student body to investigate from a student’s perspective…
As a believer I often find it hard to watch Christian made films or even read Christian authored fiction because most of it is so poor… Call me a heretic but I’ll take a gruesome but decently directed, acted and plotted movie, which is blessed with a reasonable effects budget any day over a ‘religious backed stinker’ – think Left Behind etc…
I noted before seeing this that The Naked Critic had described Peretti’s offering thus:
“I don't want to turn this into an attack on Peretti. I'm sure he's a very sweet, kind man. He's just directly responsible for unleashing a movie that made my eyes and ears hurt. We're not talking "So bad it's good," here...we're talking crimes-against-humanity bad. Spawn-of-Satan bad. Love-child-of-Judas-Iscariot-and-Pontius-Pilate-bad. Mel-Gibson's-ego bad. It's never a good sign when a "Christian" movie makes me pray to Jesus to make it stop. But hey, at least it got me praying, right?”
Alas he’s kind of on the money.
Hangman’s Curse has only one thing for it and it isn’t the lack of sex, violence, bad language or genuine scares that only a Christian backed ‘horror’ project could possibly have…
No it’s that cute Leighton Meester – yes she’s hot even when struggling to keep a straight face delivering dialogue like when hunky jock Blake asks her:
“Do you believe in the hereafter?”
She replies: “Most definitely.”
And he goes for the kill: “Good. Then you must know what I'm here after.”
She retorts: “And you know you’re not going to get it.”
So this might be worth a look for mentally deficient Christian young people – if only as a warning of how geeky and unconnected to real world they are in danger of becoming. But whilst it gets a couple of stars for trying hard (and casting Meester) – this isn’t going to win many fans or any souls for Christ in the near future.
Poster Quote: “she’s young and hot but she’s only after your soul”
Darkmatt Rating: öö (they ain’t scared o no ghost – and neither will you be)
Darkmatters: H O M E