26 March 2004 | crindyminfar
Did a church youth group make this???
I just saw "A Hangman's Curse" and let me say-- I am disappointed.
I've been a fan of Frank Peretti novels for years and I've read everything he's come out with. Like most fans of Christian fiction, I've been dying for a film version of This Present Darkness since the 80s. Looks like that will never come.
Frank Peretti seems to write 2 different kinds of books 1.)books for adults that kids should probably not read (The Oath gave me some serious nightmares when I was 13) and 2.)kids books that are usually entertaining enough for adults to enjoy (for instance, Tombs of Anak and that whole series). This new "Veritas Project" series, though, seems like kids books that adults really can't relate to. I was in my early twenties when the Hangman's Curse came out and I thought it was one of his least inspired. So, *why* is this the first one to be made into a movie (this one was in the works before the Tilly TV special)?? Why not the Visitation or the Prophet or THIS PRESENT DARKNESS (heck, Fox has owned the movie rights to that for years)??
Anyway, besides starting with a mediocre story, this "movie" had huge problems. The leads did a decent job of acting, but all of the extras and bit parts were horrendous! The group of girls that befriend Elisha... it was like they weren't even trying! Huge after-school special vibe. The picture quality in general was sub-TV as was the contrived dialogue. (What happened to the hilarious exchanges between the PC/tolerance-obsessed teacher and Elijah???) And what was with that fat kid being one of the popular/cool guys on campus?? So he was good at football. My experience around high schoolers was that being good in sports did *not* automatically provide an in with the beautiful crowd.
And speaking of which, nice reinforcement of stereotypes. The ONLY people in that school were either a.)beautiful popular prep/jocks b.)hopelessly dorky nerds c.)angry Columbine-esque goth losers. No normal people? No people that relate to several groups? No jocks who like goth bands??? How Saved by the Bell is that? I almost expected Slater to drop by, but luckily this was one of the first Christian movies to not feature fashion/slang from 8-10 years before it was made. And then at the end of the movie... the goth people are "fixed" and the one redeemable jock (one of 2 minority characters in the film)is teaching them how to be normal, since they're not goth anymore ("this is how you throw a frisbee...")
There were a few upsides to it, though.
1.) Good music. Until recently, most Christian movies don't take advantage of all the great Christian music that's out there. Looks like that might finally be changing. Mercy Streets did. The Champion did. And now, Hangman's Curse did (is it required that "Extreme Days" be played in every Christian movie now?)
2.) At least your youth group won't spend the whole movie laughing at the language and clothes/hairstyles of the actors.
3.) The girl who played Elisha was incredibly hot. Like inexplicably hot.
4.) It gives us some hope that Peretti may be gearing up to put more of his projects on film... (we've gotten two in the last 2 years).
If he does, let's hope they do it a little better.