Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

The Hanged Man | Autumn

By Steve Anderson
September 1st, 2010

The Hanged Man
**
DVD
Directed by Neil H. Weiss
Written by Glenn B. Hopper
Starring Adam Hatley, Tom Jay Jones, Brandon Gibson, Robbyn Leigh
Produced by Neil H. Weiss, Glenn B. Hopper
R
84 mins
2007

What happens when you have nothing left to live for? You're about to find out in The Hanged Man, a movie that shows you what happens when you get half a dozen chat room addicts in the same place and give them all a purpose, albeit temporary, in life.

The Hanged Man follows our sextet (though it's a fair bet none of these schmoes have seen sex-anything in a good long while if at all) as they meet up from a long time of talking online and then deciding to meet up for the express purpose of committing suicide in a big group in a barn in the middle of nowhere. Of course, it's not long before insane hallucinations begin to plague them, and eventually, they discover that they have a reason to live after all.

The crew all has a variety of secrets that they're going to spill throughout the movie, and the question of the day becomes, do you really want to sit through a movie that looks like this:

WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS someone dies WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS strange thing happens WORDS WORDS....

Or do you want something with a little more punch to it?

Because The Hanged Man does not possess that punch. In fact, I spent a large portion of the movie wondering just what the hell was going on. When one of the characters actually tells one of the others to "stop talking" and do something, I couldn't help but laugh. Because that was exactly what I'd been saying all along. Stop talking, and do something.

Admittedly, things will pick up a little bit when the ending gets kicking, but still, it's a case of too little too late.

The ending manages to bring some much-needed action to the proceedings, and a pretty good twist besides.

The special features include some original artwork and two trailers for The Hanged Man.

All in all, The Hanged Man is a slow, shoddy waste of time, space and DVD plastic whose only saving grace is its last fifteen minutes. Even then, it won't be near enough to pull it out of the ranks of mediocrity and into anything worth recommending.

 
Autumn
**
DVD
Directed by Steven Rumbelow
Written by David Moody, Steven Rumbelow
Starring Dexter Fletcher, Dickon Tolson, Lana Kamenov, David Carradine
Produced by Steven Rumbelow, Matthew Stone
110 minutes
R
2010

I have to admit, I was looking forward to Autumn. I'm a sucker for a zombie movie. But when I slipped it in the DVD player and saw that there was no music in the DVD menu, and one option aside from "play movie" called "play trailer", I swallowed hard and braced myself for the worst.

And though it wasn't quite that bad, what I got was a dull, chatty little film that did do some interesting things, but at the same time, just couldn't keep it together.

Autumn joins a group of survivors in the middle of autumn who've just seen the dead come back to life and attack the living. And so, they'll set out on an odyssey of survival, each in their own way and with utterly different plans. Some will set out to live it up, whilst some seek only to live.

I'm very upset with whoever it was who introduced the dramatic music crash toward the middle there--if you watch this, you'll see it when it hits (or hear it, rather)--as it's pointless and largely unnecessary. And also, from the looks of things, they've introduced a whole new subclass of zombie that hunts prey by SOUND. I can't begin to tell you what's wrong with that. Worse yet, midway through the whole thing, they change the rules and make the zombies from shamblers into runners!

And the way they set it up, shifting perspective almost constantly, didn't help at all--they were with one group of survivors, and then for no clear reason just basically said, let's go check in on this lot, and boom! We're there. For a little while anyway, almost as if someone said, let's rejoin the main story, already in progress, and then boom! We're THERE now.

The worst of it is that, while it has problems enough already, it also suffers from all the problems of any standard zombie movie. For example...the ending.

The ending suffers from the very worst problem a zombie movie can suffer from--many zombie movies, you see, assume a radical paradigm shift in the world's way of life. Thus, it doesn't so much end as stop--it can't end, because for it to end, the whole new society would have to end with it. The best most can do--even Romero--is to either kill off all the principals or to simply end an incident. Autumn, sadly, will do neither, instead releasing a mound of hopeful slush that believes the participants can stride bravely into a New Day.

Believe me, it's as hackneyed as it sounds.

The special features include only the trailer as well as closed captioning, which I happily discovered on my own.

All in all, Autumn tries hard, but can't get out of its own pretentious, chatty way long enough to actually do anything interesting with what it sets up. It wastes its own potential, and that's the worst waste there is.

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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