We’ve all experienced moments when loved ones or friends have inadvertently hit the dial button on their phone, calling us by mistake. Sometimes we just hear some background noise - a TV, the radio - others it could be a conversation the person is having. It’s the latter that’s the focus of this new short from Fatal Pictures, who have impressed us previously with the likes of Heir and Familiar.
Gary (Nolan) is working in his office when he gets a call from his wife, Emelia (Auza). Within moments, it’s clear she’s butt-dialled him and she’s actually in mid-conversation with a friend. Before he hangs up on her, part of the discussion piques his interest - and not for any good reason. He discovers his wife’s real feelings for him and - much more sinister - her intentions.
Hang Up! shows what can be achieved with a minimalist approach (we only actually see one actor and we’re only in the one location) and a great script. Presented in black and white, Nolan is the primary focus - with very little dialogue - who sits and listens to Auza’s monologue. The range of feelings on show is stunning, the guy is a tour de force of acting skills. As an audience, we’re put through just as much of an emotional ringer as the character.
Although it’s presented in a rather low-key manner, the music (by Christopher Guglick) and the masterful editing (from Marc Roussel, director of The Last Halloween) bolster the atmosphere and tension.
It’s difficult to discuss the direction the film takes without descending into spoiler territory, but rest assured, it descends into some very dark places and has an increasingly relentless psychological edge unknown in a less-than-fifteen-minute short. The monochrome look works perfectly, adding to the tone of the piece. Despite having no visual effects or gore, this is one of the most disturbing films that you may see this year.
Hang Up! will be screening at festivals soon and has its World Premiere at FilmQuest, Utah in September.
HANG UP! (SHORT) / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: RICHARD POWELL / STARRING: ROBERT NOLAN, ASTRIDA AUZA / RELEASE DATE: TBC