Hangman's Curse DVD Review : 2004/08/07Permalink
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Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2003.
Includes both widescreen and full screen versions
106 minutes (includes Spanish subtitles)
Frank Peretti has been writing bestsellers for years, but Hangman's Curse
is the first movie adaptation of one of his books. The initial book in the Veritas Project series (see my review
of the second book), Hangman's Curse
finds the problem-solving Springfield family at a high school plagued by a deadly force of evil.
The movie earns its PG-13 rating for scenes that might terrify some young viewers (or my wife), but a PG rating probably would have been more in line with other movies out there. One of my favorite scenes has Elisha (the female twin in the family) turning her teacher's flawed relativism back on him in the classroom. A major emphasis of the Veritas (Latin for truth) Project series is teaching readers and viewers how illogical it is to deny absolute truth and morality. Hangman's Curse
does that quite effectively. It's not without its flaws, though.
Perhaps trying to broaden the potential audience, the movie waters down the Christian elements. It's not eliminated, but it's not as prevalent as in the book. However, it pops up at some times that come across as a little preachy. Author Frank Peretti makes more than a Hitchcockian cameo appearance--he plays Algernon Wheeling, a somewhat quirky scientist reminiscent of Back to the Future
's Christopher Lloyd. Peretti adds comic relief, but the character is so over-the-top that it becomes somewhat distracting. The biggest flaw is the way stereotypes are reinforced. The good guys are clean cut and wholesome. It's to be expected that Elisha is cute, but even as a wonderful Christian character, she is inconsiderate to a nerdy kid, at first talking to him, but then being completely distracted to the point of neglect. Some parents won't be thrilled by the example her clothes set for their young daughters, either. Two troubled Goth kids are stereotyped; as my teenaged daughter commented, "So wearing black makes you evil?" (She wasn't wearing black at the time).
I won't give away the plot, but I will say that most viewers will find the ending just a little too tidy. Overall, the movie is interesting, but even my ten-year-old son liked the book better than the movie. For a humorous take on the movie from someone apparently not sharing Peretti's faith, see Lights Out Films
. Don't miss the last part of the review.
Special features on the DVD include Frank Peretti From Page to Screen
, a behind the scenes "making of" segment, and The Spider Wranglers
, an interesting depiction of how the spiders in the movie were "trained" and managed.
I recommend the DVD for teens, but preview the DVD yourself before showing it to younger viewers.
See Twentieth Century Fox
to order online.
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