In honor of teens fucking rocking our world right now, I decided to watch a bunch of mainstream flix about teens…getting killed. Hey, it’s a horror site, what do you want from me? Now on to Don’t Hang Up, Viral, and Wish Upon.
DON’T HANG UP (2016)
The opening scene of Don’t Hang Up puts an intense twist on the When A Stranger Calls concept…
And then we meet our very cute, total asshole leading boys. That’s right, there’s barely a girl in this film, let alone a main one…although the poster art most favored for marketing is one showing a woman on a phone.
Amazing how afraid of males the horror market is.
Our two male leads get their kicks prank calling people, recording it, and then posting the audio to their online video channel for viral fame.
Now that’s what I call phone sex.
One night when one kid’s parents are away, they decide to have some fun. But then THEY start getting calls…from someone who knows what they do, can see they’re every move, and has video showing exactly what will be done to the ones they love if they don’t do exactly what they’re told (like hanging up).
The reverse When a Stranger Calls is suspenseful enough, there are plenty of twists, and the caller deliciously teaches these assholes a lesson that involves turning them against each other to survive (it’s like the home edition of Saw—fun for the whole family!).
However, the entire premise sort of completely falls apart due to the fact that these kids play really cruel pranks, post the videos online without ANY anonymity (they literally laugh and mock the victim on camera), yet we are supposed to buy that they’ve never paid any consequences until now.
It’s a major detail you really have to digest if you’re going to enjoy the film for what it is.
The directing team of the awesome thriller Nerve and Paranormal Activity 3 and 4 brings us a teen parasitic worm/zombie film that is confoundingly slow before finally getting to the good stuff in the last 20 minutes or so.
Our main girl is a regular teen just going about her day. Conveniently, her dad teaches a class on parasites at school. Next thing you know, the town is under quarantine and she and her sister are stuck at home with the sister’s boyfriend while her father is inconveniently out.
No supervision means—party time! There’s an okay suspense scene in which a crazy infected kid infiltrates the party the girls go to, but then they end up back at home, this time with a guy the main girl likes.
However, the movie is more about the relationship between the two sisters, which plays out most intensely when the horror itself becomes most intense in the final act.
Crazies bust into the house, wormy things come out of their ears, and the sisters have to make extreme decisions to stay alive using the knowledge they’ve gained from their father on parasites.
WISH UPON (2017)
The director of Wolves at the Door and Annabelle offers up a straightforward tale of the price you pay for getting what you wish for.
A not-so-popular teen is still haunted by the loss of her mom to suicide. She spends her days fending off the high school bitches while also trying to avoid being embarrassed by her quirky dad, who likes to dig through other people’s trash, but happens to be hot (because he’s Ryan Phillippe).
When garbage picking scores the teen a mysterious box, she soon discovers it will grant her wishes. Like any teen, she wishes for awesome stuff, like returned affection from a crush, popularity, money…
But then she starts to notice a trend; every time she gets her wish, someone suffers a gruesome death. When she calls on her limited number of friends to help stop the madness, it’s impossible not to notice that this film takes a rather hokey turn into Final Destination territory.
What I’m saying is, it sure is fun even if it’s not a masterpiece. I just wish it had the guts to, well, show the guts. It’s not gory at all. Just a splash of blood here and there.
It does happen to have a cool soundtrack featuring plenty of modern wave artists like The Wayfarers, Hey Violet, and Royal Cinema.