When I first heard that Zach Green (read my interview with him here) and the folks over at Fatal Pictures had a new project in the works called Hang Up!, I was so very excited! I have LOVED everything they’ve put out so far, most especially the Box Cutter Trilogy – Heir (2015 – read our review of the film here), Familiar (2012 – read our review of the film here) and Worm (2010). They always seem to cast one of my favorite actors, Mr. Robert Nolan (read my interview with him here), and tell stories of average people who are not exactly ordinary. Hang Up! was no exception.
Robert Nolan stars as Gary, a man sitting at his desk at work when he gets a butt dial from his wife, Emelia, voiced by Astrida Auza, who also happened to play Nolan’s wife in Familiar. We never actually see Emelia – just pictures of her on Gary’s phone and in his office. We only hear her voice. On the other hand, Gary barely speaks – he tells his wife that she called him by mistake, but she doesn’t hear him. Then, for the rest of the short, he listens… and reacts.
What Gary hears is some of the most cutting, damaging, heartrending words a man could hear his spouse say. He wants to hang up. He can’t stand hearing what his wife is saying about him to her friend, and what she plans to do to him, but he Can’t. Stop. Listening. Her voice is cutting, sarcastic and tainted with evil… only a terrible person would do the things she says she’s going to do. It’s like a train wreck… you know it’s going to be violent and will probably plant a gruesome, nightmarish seed in your brain, but you have to witness it.
I can’t even imagine what Gary was thinking. He’s listening to the woman he loves, the person he’s supported and never gotten angry at, cut him down like a fir tree in December. His face goes from confusion to sadness to heartbreak and finally to anger. All we see is his reaction, but the look on his face tells of an entirely different kind of horror. There is no gore or rending of teeth in this short. The terribleness of Hang Up! comes not in bloodshed but in words. And if what Emelia says is true about Gary, then he does not deserve them, which makes this short all the more tragic.
Hang Up! is filmed in black and white, lending to the simplistic nature of a man listening to a phone call, but while also leaving him in stark relief, laid bear for the viewer to see. I love the shots of Gary mirrored in the reflective sphere, flipping him on his head as his word turns upside down.
I got this short two weeks ago, and it’s only now that I finally have my thoughts together to write about it. The pure hatred and venom spoken by Emelia hit me in the gut, and I was thrown by the offhanded yet malicious digs she sent to her husband over the phone. Some things are best not known.
Hang Up! premiered at the 5th annual FilmQuest Film Festival in Provo, Utah on September 8, 2018. Luckily, the short is screening Wednesday, March 13th at the Blood In The Snow 2019 Spring Tour, so if you’re going, be sure to check this one out. As a matter of fact, if you get the chance to watch any of the films generated by Fatal Pictures, I can guarantee, you won’t be left wanting on the horror.