One of the first horror shorts we got to review here at DFP was Heir, sent to us by producer Zach Green. Here, we get to come back to our roots a bit with another short review. It’s not horrific in the sense that Heir was, but it is a bit terrifying. Here, a man Gary (Robert Nolan, also in Heir), gets an inadvertent “butt dial” from his wife. He almost hangs up, but a few words cut quickly and he begins to find out so much more than he really would have wanted to know.
A bit of information up front here – there is not a lot of action that takes place in this short. It’s a man reacting to things that are said by someone on a phone. There are a lot of people that would find this boring, but I think that the story that develops through the dialogue is worth it. Writer/Director Richard Powell slowly walks us through Amelia (Astrida Auza) and Gary’s marriage. He gives us a picture of a marriage of a subservient husband and a manipulating wife. It’s a remarkable amount of information that is presented through dialogue, and it’s presented fairly well, even if there are a couple of tangents along the way.
Astrida Auza obviously gets the majority of the vocal acting, as she is doing the heavy lifting by telling a friend everything. I think, at times, she skews a bit too comical with the delivery, but for the most part her voice is well-suited to this. She lulls you in at times and then hits you with a devastating curse word or detail that stabs Gary (and you) in the heart. Her dialogue is accented by Nolan’s performance, which is not showy or loud. He slowly reacts to the news that his wife hates him, cheats on him, manipulates him, and plans to frame him – he just sits and waits. Facial acting is something very few get a chance to master – I would argue that Nolan is at the top of the craft.
Overall, I enjoyed it, but it does have its pacing issues. I’m going to give Hang Up! a “B”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"