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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: "Hangman's Curse" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter


    Second Unit

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Posted March 03 2004 - 09:12 AM

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Hangman’s Curse

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Year: 2003

Rated: PG

Running Time: 106 Minutes

Directed by: Fafal Zielinski

Aspect Ratio: Full Screen 1.33:1 and Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitled in English and Spanish

Bonus features:
Side: 1
-Featurette: Frank Peretti: From Page to Screen
Side 2
-Featurette: The Spider Wrangler: The Spiders of Hangman’s

Release Date: March 30th, 2004



Hangman’s Curse…. Hmmm….. Do I like this movie? Yes! What it corny as all hell sometimes? Yes! Was it scary at times? Yes!

Hangman’s Curse is really a great, CLEAN, family movie, in my opinion. No cussing, no sex crap, it just tries to tell a scary story and throws in some ocasional humor. Adapted from the book of the same name from author Frank Peretti, this movie had a definite family feel to it. I envision Hangman's Curse perfect fodder for a girl’s slumber party, or something along those lines. The movie has lot of underlying themes running throughout that are what kids deal with and see on a daily basis: Prejudice against people different than you, bi-racial dating / relationships, peer pressure, bullying and heckling, and worst of all, suicide. These themes all get played out and sort of put in perspective in the end.

Oh, and did I mention the extremely annoying and blatantly obvious and over abundant insertion of today’s teen-speak. “That girl fronted on him” “She was feeling him, big time” “Oh Snap!” Oh brother! They put WAY too much of this language into the film. You can tell they did it to appeal to the younger audience, but I feel as though it came off just plain cheesy. Cheesy, as in double extra cheese on your cheese fries, cheesy. (Kinda like that cheesy sentence you just read!) Posted Image

Anyway, aside from all that, the movie was decent and worth watching with your kids. If you don’t have kids… this movie may not appeal to you. Even my girlfriend walked out at one point because it crossed her “cheese-threshold” But overall, its one of those movies that just has enough fright to scare the pants off the younger ones, but without having to deal with all of the things usually associated with those types of movies. I.e.: Language, sex, etc. There is also a nice twist at the end that only readers of the book would know!

Here is the synopsis from the back cover:
Within the shadowed corridors of Rogers High School, something terrible has been unleashed. As fear escalates, a family of investigators goes undercover only to discover you cannot destroy what you cannot find. As students are claimed by a deadly power, Nate and Sarah Springfield (David Keith and Mel Harris) and their two teenage children race to protect the student body from the mysterious forces around them…and from their own prejudices.



Picture quality for this DVD was very good.

I obviously watched the Anamorphic version. This rendered for the most part a beautiful picture. Vivid colors, like green and purple really stood out and popped of the screen. The video noise was kept to a minimum, which is always nice. Blacks were outstanding and solid. You know you have a good black level when you can’t distinguish the parts of the scene from the letterboxing. Skin tones were spot on I’d say. I didn’t notice any edge enhancement, but honestly I wasn’t really paying attention for it.

Overall, a very nice presentation and one that I have come to expect from a recently filmed movie.

SEE FOR YOURSELF!: (click on the picture for a bigger version of the screen-shot)

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More screen shots here

Picture Quality Rating:
Picture: 4 / 5
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The DVD is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1.

The sound was great, and not so great. Mainly the dialog was not always prominent and bold. It had a tendency to drift and become hollow. Basically, at some points…it sounded cheap! Overall however, I’d say the dialog was ok.

Now the music…the music was great. The left and right channels came in hard and strong. Actually, this movie is one of the best that I have seen in the music kicks in big time in a key scene transition. It just sounded fantastic in those spots. The music really reached out and got your ready for the upcoming scene. It really made you pay attention.

There wasn’t a whole lot of LFE or surround. The surrounds were purely ambience for the most part. You could hear a few small things going on in the back, but nothing to speak of. The LFE just kinda gave a nice low chunk every once in a while… a little warm thud for a door shutting or whatnot. Most of the low end came from the soundtrack.

Sound Quality Rating:
Sound: 3 / 5
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This DVD has only 3 extras [/b]

Side 1 Extras


Self explanatory

Total Running Time: : / Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Frank Peretti: From Page to Screen

This is a cool little featurette about the author of Hangman’s Curse, Frank Peretti. Frank goes into detail about how he ended up playing the “cooky scientist” role in the movie. He also walks around a few sets and talks about how they compared to how he saw them in his head when he was writing the book.

Total Running Time 10:37

Side 2 Extras

The Spider Wrangler: The Spiders of Hangman’s Curse

Total Running Time: 09:00

Extras / Bonus Features Rating:
Extras: 2 / 5
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"Hangman’s Curse" is a movie that you can sit down with your teenager, and watch a good scary movie together without having to worry about the content. I am sure any teenager would enjoy the movie, as long as the adult can overlook certain shortcomings.

I would say it’s definitely worth a rent… before you decide to buy. Posted Image

This has been,
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#2 of 2 OFFLINE   JeremyLG


    Stunt Coordinator

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Posted March 03 2004 - 02:58 PM

Thanks for the review. I think I agree with just about everything you said about the movie content - nice and clean, some scarry moments, and some corney moments. I've only read one of Frank's books, This Present Darkness, but did enjoy this film when I say it in the theater. Will probably pick this up. Jeremy G.

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