Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Fatal Pictures and Producer, Zach Green along with Writer/Director, Richard Powell for allowing me early access to an online screener of their 13 minute Drama/Thriller short “Hang Up!”. Hang Up is the fifth short from the Fatal Pictures duo and it sees them team up yet again with actor, Robert Nolan (Silent Retreat and Canswer). Gary’s at his work desk when he suddenly gets a call from his wife Emelia (voiced by Astrida Auza). It’s an accidental dial that proves to be enlightening, as a multitude of dark secrets are bought to the surface.
I’ve been privileged enough to have seen and reviewed three other films from Fatal Pictures, each very different from one another, but all equally as impressive. The common denominator between “Worm”, a story about a high school teacher with a narcissistic personality, “Familiar”, where a father and husband suspects something is controlling his mind, and “Heir” a dark tale of a father and son, is the superbly talented Robert Nolan. There’s a reason Powell and Green continue to utilize Nolan and it’s likely because of his range. Hang Up is tonally quite different from Powell’s other works. He primes you for an intense one-way conversation, where you’re simply a fly on the wall, as Gary, a seemingly everyday man, endures a verbal onslaught that reveals some startling discoveries. DP, Michael Jari Davidson (who worked on the two previous FP shorts) brings a mix of simple shots choices to the table (I mean to the actual table the character sits at haha) but he also implements some interesting techniques, such as flipping the camera on its head or using a reflection to frame something a certain way. The black and white photography is something new from Fatal Pictures and I liked it. The audio is clear, and some bass within the soft score makes for a nice change of pace as well. Nolan’s primarily reactive based display is as good as I’ve seen and Astrida has an interesting and sinful emphasis to her line delivery. Richard’s script is certainly adult in nature and deals with some pretty ruinous stuff. A focus on the dying plant was interesting, I saw it as a metaphorical touch regarding the couple’s connection. In a roundabout way, Hang Up has surprising topical relevance with things like the #MeToo movement and other pertinent issues in the world right now.
My only criticism of the film (and it’s a personal preference issue) is that it should’ve ended after Emelia discovered what transpired. It wasn’t necessary to hear her reaction and I think it ultimately took away from some of the desired impact had she just hung up. Stylistically speaking, the way it bleeds into the credits does kind of work though.
Simply put, Hang Up is just more superb filmmaking from Richard Powell and Fatal Pictures. These guys are constantly reinventing themselves and there’s a real sense of professionalism about what they do. There’s a dedication to telling impactful stories, each different from the next. The black and white works well, the shot choices are cool, and the audio sharp. The script is smartly written and both Nolan and Auza deliver extremely impressive performances. I do think the last couple of minutes could’ve been cut in order to garner more of a one-two punch finish. Leave some mystery. First and foremost, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of “The Boxcutter Trilogy”, which features three of Powell’s aforementioned short films. Check out the teaser trailer for Hang Up! because it’s coming soon.
My rating for “Hang Up!” is 9/10