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Hangman's Curse (2003)
The full title of this little thriller (and I do mean little) is Frank Peretti's Hangman's Curse, which begs the question, who the hell is Frank Peretti? Of course, this tends to set off a long line of letters from readers pointing out that obviously Frank Peretti is a novelist who writes thrillers with a Christian bent, and Hangman's Curse is based on his very first for-teens book.
I knew none of this watching the film, mind you, but it doesn't surprise me at all. Imagine a horror film that's PG-13, that has a strong family message, and where nobody dies unless it's in a flashback or they're villainous, tragic figures. Where not only does nobody die, but 35 minutes in, you figure the filmmakers don't have the balls to kill anybody, and therefore nothing is very surprising.
I apologize if I've ruined any part of the film for you, but this is a) a review for a movie on a site that's never particularly prided itself on being spoiler-free, and b) not a very good film, so I feel even less inclined to protect the general public.
Where to begin? With the feel good heroes (played by David Keith, Mel Harris, Leighton Meester, and Douglas Smith), who form an elite government squad called The Veritas Project? Yes, it's the All-American nuclear family crime fighting task force. Watch as the twin brother and sister take part in a major drug bust! Marvel at how they're completely f**king obvious to anybody with half a brain in their head, and yet nobody says... "Hey, ya think those guys are narcs?" It's a giant leap to accept that the feds would really put such a force together, and the leaps keep on leaping...
How about the high school quarterback with arms skinnier than mine? The spider infestation that doesn't show up until exactly the moment when everybody figures out that there's a spider infestation? The utterly complex and rushed scientific explanations? The fact that the hospitals didn't run a full toxicology report on three unconscious high school students?
Top it off with a helping of run-of-the-muck direction and acting that merely meets some sort of par set by television movie actors (Peretti himself turns in a numbingly over-the-top turn as a wacky science genius), and you have a film that you really should try to avoid seeing. Hell, it's even deeply offensive to Wiccan culture, and has a great message that says, "Being happy means being more like the popular kids." In my book? Two really great reasons to never, ever see this movie.