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Parents' Guide to


By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Muddled Pacino mystery has serial-killer violence.

Movie R 2017 98 minutes
Hangman Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 16+

An Enjoyable Crime/Thriller Too Short For Greatnesses

“Hangman” is a crime/thriller by Johnny Martin that stars Al Pacino, Karl Urban and Brittany Snow. The story is a homicide detective teams up w/ a criminal profiler to catch a serial killer who’s killings are inspired by the kids game; Hangman. I was a bit concerned when I first heard of this film because the director’s only recognisable film is “Vengeance: A Love Story” which is another straight to DVD Nicolas Cage film. Also cause for concern was both the talented Al Pacino and talented Karl Urban have been appearing in quite a few straight-to-DVD movies and waistline their talents. When I watched this film I was pleasantly surprised at how not terrible it was. I mean there is no memorable antagonist like in other serial killer films such as “Copycat” (1995) or “SE7EN” (1995) but luckily enough two out of the three leads are very well acted. Al Pacino and Karl Urban still manage to give good performances even despite the average material. Brittany Snow’s performance is actually quite lacklustre, very flat and one note. The violence in this film is mainly off-screen but hanging bodies can be quite disturbing to see. A woman slits her wrist graphically which can both disturbing and distressing to watch if you’ve know someone who has committed suicide. Numerous post violence scenes that often are decently graphic. There are also scenes of struggles as the killer attempts to subdue his impending victims. Swearing is your typical R rated amount w/ two or three dozen f-words, a load of b-words and s-words. It’s nothing on a Scorcese or Tarantino level but it’s definitely not PG-13. There is female nudity throughout the film but primarily on the victims corpses and nothing deliberately sexualising. The film is all up a decently good film but nothing amazing and nothing great. This film could of been a hell of a lot better if it was longer and developed the killer or at least the twist more. I’d give it a 6.3/10 mainly due to the two male leads and it’s entertainme factor. This film while not extremely graphic has quite a few disturbing scenes and these scenes as well as the coarse language is why I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone under 16 years old.

This title has:

Too much violence
age 16+

pretty dog

I’m only 16 and I can’t see the god awful acting from a mile away. It’s almost laughable. but please do watch, if you want a good laugh

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Lots of people get their necks stretched in Hangman, but the story and characters don't hang together at all. So the real mystery is why so little thought was put into this film. Its idea of research into police procedure and journalism appears to be watching other B movies, and the result is a demonstration of the law of diminishing returns. Crime scenes were apparently made for contaminating, and cops let a reporter tag along for suspect chases, body discoveries, and more. (By the way, this tiny town with a median household income of $27,500 has an amazingly high-tech police department.) This isn't a documentary, but the film's blithe disregard for logic makes it feel like an unmoored series of scenes of people discovering mutilated corpses, with no emotional or dramatic stakes. The intended mystery is a cheat in every way, down to the solution to the titular word game. And the biggest cheat of all is that the protagonist, a detective, forgot the details of his own wife's murder a year ago. (Also, not sure what accent Pacino is doing, but it suggests The Bronx and Alabama. In his defense, no one seems to be rooted in a particular place, much less Monroe, Georgia.)

Helping build the zero tension in the film is its lack of originality (it's a blatant ripoff of Se7en and countless others) and clockwork nature. No, the first suspect they chase down isn't the killer. No, the good guys aren't going to die in the first reel. No, they're not going to stop the bad guy for several more letters. This is one of those movies in which the killer is either Batman or someone with a film crew and a crane at his disposal to accomplish his elaborate setups. And why the villain involves the protagonist to begin with is never explained. And what his ultimate goal is, is never explained. And ... you get the drift. On the plus side, the shots are nicely lit, and Urban looks dashing in an impeccably tailored wardrobe that definitely doesn't say "detective, Monroe, Georgia." (Speaking of the setting, this clump of murders would have to set some kind of record in a city of only 13,200. And apparently no black people in the city, even though it's more than 42 percent black in real life, according to the current census.) If you're fond of games with letters, Words with Friends or Scrabble might be more fruitful options than Hangman.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 22, 2017
  • On DVD or streaming: February 27, 2018
  • Cast: Al Pacino , Karl Urban , Brittany Snow , Sarah Shahi
  • Director: Johnny Martin
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors, Middle Eastern/North African actors
  • Studio: Saban Films
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 98 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: violent content, bloody images, and language
  • Last updated: January 1, 2023

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