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Hangman’s Curse (2003) – DVD Review

Hangman's Curse DVD


Written by Kathy Mackel & Stan Foster, based on the novel by Frank Peretti
Directed by Rafal Zielinski
Starring David Keith, Mel Harris, Leighton Meester, Douglas Smith, Edwin Hodge


  • Featurettes: “Frank Peretti: From Page to Screen,” “The Spider Wrangler: The Spiders of Hangman’s Curse
  • Theatrical trailer

Released by: Fox.
Rating: NR
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Rent it for pre-teens.

[ad#longpost]The Springfields seem like the conventional nuclear family: mom, dad, two kids, and a dog. However they are really a crack undercover investigative team working with the Veritas Project. The Project looks into strange happenings that defy conventional explanations and works to get to the bottom of them, wherever they may lead. And that is what’s happening at Rogers High School. Three football players have suffered delusions and fallen into comas without any apparent medical explanation. The students all think the Goth clique have conjured the spirit of Able Frye who ten years ago hanged himself in the school to escape the abuse of the student body. While the parents, Sarah (Harris) and Nate (Keith), look for clues, the twins Elisha (Meester) and Elijah (Smith) get close to the suspects. Ian (Jake Richardson), the leader of the Goths, acts like he knows something, but could he really conjure up a vengeful spirit? Or is someone using the legend of Able Frye to cover up something even more devious? Will the Springfields be able to unravel the Hangman’s Curse?

While watching this, I could imagine the pitch given to producers, “It’s like The X-Files for the PAX Channel.” The author writes Christian-themed books and those values are evident. But they are presented with some subtlety so you don’t feel like it being shoved down your throat. And the main value being presented is “Do onto others as they would do onto you” or “Don’t treat people like crap.” So, of course, high school is the perfect environment to exhibit people treating each other like crap. Even while both sides of the conflict, popular girls and jocks vs. Goths and nerds, aren’t presented as exclusively good or evil, they are grossly oversimplified. In fact all the characters, while not stereotypical, are rather simple. So while the actors do a good enough job in their roles never really get a chance to actually act.

Hangman's Curse

The plot isn’t too complex either. Most of us, who have had a lifetime diet of red herrings, plot twists, and surprise endings can probably guess ahead and determine whodunit. But this movie isn’t made for jaded media junkies like us. It’s for kids who are still working on Encyclopedia Brown and Goosebumps. And judged in that context, it is a cut above the rest. The method that “Able Frye” uses to strike his victims down is fairly ingenious and there are a few shocks and scares experienced along the way. Although this isn’t a great thriller, it can entertain your pre-teen for a couple of hours.

We have two featurettes on this disc. “Frank Peretti: From Page to Screen” is the usual behind the scenes documentary where everyone raves about the production and everyone involved in it. Having the author, usually ignored after the contract is signed, featured prominently is a little different. He comes off more as clinically manic than genuinely excited and he is tiresome in both the movie (where he has a role) and the featurette. The other featurette, which deals with the spiders in the film, is more interesting. For instance, different species of spiders have to audition like actors and different shifts of spiders are used to give the maximum energy on screen. We also see how several actors deal with their arachnid cast crawling all over them. Let’s just say the screams aren’t all acting.

At the end of the day, Hangman’s Curse is a good disc to keep the kids occupied and out of the liquor cabinet or your purse. But that’s about it.


  • this movie is great jake richardson is awsome in it along with the rest of the cult the boy being picked on and commits suicide (able frye) i know exactly how he feels and to be in the suicide situation he was in. the 2 agents fantastic and for a girl to remain so calm with so many spiders around her wow guts guts guts the movie its self is amazing i to am a “satanist” well was im trying to put it away well anyways this isnt about me its about the fantastic movie hangmans curse if you are a goth punk or emo you will like this movie guaranteed some part of it will make you say cool rent it now!!! :) well thats all i have to say to much typing so ya im going now bye :) HANGMAN’S CURSE RULES!!!!!!!

  • I love this movie,i am a 100% goth emo punk,i love this movie,and no,not all goths are satainsts,i myself am a christain. Also,it makes a good point,all the pushovers who make fun of us in class blushed and looked at us like they were guilty when we watched this in,well as for the suicide part,yeah-verily,what i mean is,when people are mean to you just becuase you are diffrent,and arent like you,it really hurts,and it can push you over the edge,and may cause you to take you own life,that should teach all of you pushy jocks a lesson,unless you want to be responsible for a death of a depressed,hurt,rejected teen.

  • i love this movie so damn much and if i was to meet the cast of the movie i wojuld go crazy….IAN so fucking roks and he is so hot!!!! why cant i be with him….lol. anywayz i give this damn movie 110% but even more…..i am goth, punk 110% so i dont care what you think of me….so yea

  • I love Ian!He’s so dark!The whole movie is great because of him!But at the end when he became “normal”, he’s too ugly…XP

  • This movie is the greatest! we watched in school and we all loved it! Its a great movie, it made me almost cry when we finished it, that’s how good it was! And now I want to own this movie! : )

  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie if u haven’t seen it i would sooooooooo recomend it for a sleepover movie or just any nigh!!!! it is one of my favorite movies in the entire world! i would also recomend to watch it at night with ALL the lights off and right before bed!!!!! :-) it is the best then!! any way see ya!

  • OMFG! this movie is the greatest jake richardson is in it and he is hot lol. im not goth or w.e but this movie rocks. i rented it 4 times and i got late charges out it of it so. lmao yeah.. love this movie i would definatly recommend it (Y):):)

  • omg this film is one of the greatest i hav eva puts all the people who push like the goths and punks in our class to shame and it reli does hurt when someone picks on you for being yourself and it does sometimes make u think twice about life like when ian woz gonna hang himself coz he felt like life wasnt worth living for well that does make you feel like that when u get the idiots in your class picking on people for being different.anywayz luv da film and all the goths lol bye xxxxxxxjade

  • I LUV this movie. Ian Snyder is soooooo effin hott! I have a pic of him over my bed so i go to sleep lookin at him and wake up lookin at him. I too am a goth punk kid always getting pushed around. So Ian and Crystal make a lot of sense. Later

  • i love this movie its awesome can somebody help me i want to know what the name of this song is from the hangman’s curse it goes “i hear the sound beat on my face i hear the ground beneath my feet nowere ide rather be then with you beside myself i see my face in you”

  • I love this movie I jumped out of my chair when all the spiders came out. I’ve also read the book and there both really good

  • omg my name is elisha too!!! o and u know whatz weird people pick on u for being different but look around no one looks the same lol weird

  • I like this movie and the book. It was really awesome being able to watch it and then going to the school where they filmed it which there are already terrible rumors about…not true! And although there isn’t a basement, in the lockers there are the little hangmans that they carved into them! :P

  • I reeeeally love this movie!! Ian is sooooooo HOT!!!! You gotta admit! I’m not excactly goth or punk, but Lol I’m always wants to be. I adore Ian!!!! Jake looks TOO adorable in this!!!! I’m gonna cry!! I wanna be with him sooooo bad!! Everytime I see his face it makes me sooo happy!! I reeeeeeally want posters of Ian Snyder covering my bedroom walls. Buts unfortunetly I have to share a room. -_- It not, then *faints from love excitement* *smiles and giggles while passed out* *suddenly recovers* Can I plzzzzzzzz be one of your guys friends!!! I reeeeeeeeally wanna talk to an Ian fan girl! I have no friends that like him. Boo hoo. My e-mail is [REDACTED]!! Plz e-mail!!!!! Again, I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu love, love, love, LUFF, IAN!!!!!!!

  • Dear Hazardous. First of all, your name was well chosen because that seemed hazardous and after passing out you probably need a band-aid. Second, please don’t put your e-mail address into comments here or anywhere else because I guarantee you the people you want to be e-mailing are the only people who won’t.

    Hugs and decaf,

  • i love jake richardson!
    hes a hottie. lol.
    but whats that song when ian and crystel walk down the hallway, it goes ‘it all comes down so break it down’.
    something like that.
    but that movie is amazing.

  • This movie is now my all time favorite!! And an answer to your question Olivia, the song is called Lonely Man by Audio Adrenaline. XD

  • i love Jake richardson. if i were andrea morris (crystal sparks) i would never let him out of ym sight. i can’t find the song’s name of when ian is tries to hang himself and he’s got all those symbols on his face. i can’t believe people would actually start yelling at him to jump they are so rude. if the cast were to come to a city near me i would bypass andreaa morris, leighton meester, and douglas smith and all the rest of them i would run straight to Jake Richardson and hug him. my freind and my sister and me were watching hangmans curse and in hte night my friend woke up screaming ‘cuz she thought there was a spider on her leg.

  • we watched hangman’s curse in school and when it was done all the people in our class that picked on “wierd” people had thier heads hung low in shame. BEST MOVIE IN THE WORLD. though I have no clue what the name of the song is when Ian is about to hang himself, (I can’t believe that people were actually telling him to jump, so rude.)