Hellphone (2007)
By: J.R. McNamara on January 28, 2010  | 
Madman (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). French DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 95 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: James Huth
Starring: Jean-Baptiste Maunier, Jennifer Decker, Benjamin Jungers, Vladimir Consigny, Edouard Collin
Screenplay: Jean-Baptiste Andrea
Country: France
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Horror movie fact number 9: Horror comedies don't always work.

Unfortunately for every Return of the Living Dead you get about 20 Return of the Living Dead 2's, and fair enough too. I mean surely horror and comedy couldn't mix. They are the extremes that should never meet. One is the extreme side of fear, and the other is the extreme side of joy.

It is wonderful though, when you find a combination that meshes, and Hellphone does.

Hellphone tells the tale of skate-brat Sid (Jean-Baptiste Maunier) who has fallen for hot classmate Angie (Jenifer Decker). His best mate Pierre (Benjamin Jungers) sympathizes with his friend, knowing that she will never have anything to do with him as long as school bully Virgil (Vladimir Cosigny) is around. He works up the courage to talk to her, and surprisingly he manages to get in her good graces, though her opinion of him seems to diminish when he reveals he doesn't have a mobile phone.

Naturally he decides he needs to acquire one and manages to raise 30 Euros. Not much, but he may be able to pick up something cheap. He visits a strange Asian shop and after an extensive sales pitch decides on a phone that the shop owner eventually reveals - once he has Sid's money – does not work. Something happens though, as soon as Sid touches it, it activates, and he discovers something very quickly about the phone: it 'helps' the owner out - with bullies, girls, bosses, teachers, basically anyone who attempts to stop Sid getting what he wants, which is great at first, but then it starts doing it by itself… and taking over elements of Sid's life.

One of the real joys of this film is the relationship between the two main male leads. I haven't seen a pair that clicks in this way like these two since Corey Haim and Corey Feldmen, and I use that example as their relationship is so much like many of the films they did together in the 80s. That's not to say the rest of the cast aren't charismatic also, but these two particularly stood out.

Actually this film is very reminiscent of an eighties horror film, with its likable cast and the way it is filmed, and I couldn't help getting a 976-EVIL vibe from it, and not just because both are dealing with 'something evil' and a telephone.

The director, James Huth has a truly wonderful and whimsical eye which brings a light and color palette that really is appealing. His sense of comedic timing is excellent, and there is a dark sense of irony that appears now and again with the punchlines to some obvious, but still amusing jokes. These jokes fit in easily amongst the winks and nods as other parts of pop culture are ridiculed here and there as well.

This film has a few horror-styled situations in it, but it is relatively blood free and never really gets to the darker regions that a film about a possessed phone could get to. It is much more a comedy that a horror film, so be warned.
The film is presented in a 16:9 enhanced 2.35:1 aspect ratio with crisp and colorful picture.
The audio is only in 2.0, but is clear and perfect all the way through. Actually, you don't notice it so much as the film is subtitled and you are paying more attention to them than the soundtrack.
Extra Features
No extras here, which is odd for a Madman release as they normally would include at least some trailers for their own DVDs. I would have liked to have seen some cast interviews as they were a charismatic bunch.
The Verdict
A decent horror comedy of the Idle Hands type. Well cast, with a smart script full of over the top situations, and very entertaining, if you are looking for something lighter to even out an evening of horror.  
Movie Score
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