The Gallows, 2015.
Written and Directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing.
Starring Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos and Cassidy Gifford.
20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone.
It goes without saying that horror requires much suspension of disbelief, but The Gallows takes things to new heights and is easily one of the sloppiest, most unrewarding, ineffectively written scary stories in the past decade. Honestly, it might just be one of the worst of all time.
The entire premise of The Gallows just doesn’t work; it is absolutely ludicrous to believe that four students could find themselves locked in their high school during afterhours at night (they willingly break in via door that refuses to shot so that they could vandalize and destroy the set of tomorrow’s stage play) with no way out. Yes, it is horror, but the stretching of the paranormal shenanigans goes too far when doors are conveniently locked, cell phones magically receive no signal, fire alarms draw the attention of no one, and our protagonists are so stupid they cannot just find something heavy or sharp enough to knock down anything locked. It’s reminiscent to old-school 1990s survival horror games where instead of being able to forcibly make your way through a shut door you had to go around collecting random crap to open it. Only in this movie there is no music box you set in an indentation to open up a door because that’s the logic of video games; the students are just that dumb.
None of them are very likable either considering the first 20 minutes of the film shows them picking on drama students depicted as stereotypical nerds, and generally being malicious douchebags. Theoretically, this should make for a logical set-up where we root for Charlie (the mysterious ghost haunting the school 22 years after his accidental and tragic death) as he hangs each one of these insufferable clowns with his noose one by one, but even that doesn’t happen because the movie is mind-numbingly boring.
The Gallows is similar to every other movie featuring ghosts terrorizing people; there are loud obnoxious jump scares, really bland attempts at frightening audiences, and your typical found footage style cinematography. The camerawork here is exceptionally horrible though; there are literally scenes where we stare at people’s feet while they converse because someone is pointing the camera to the ground. The entire point of having a camera makes zero sense too; they came here to essentially commit a crime. Why the hell would you create evidence of yourselves ruining a play?
After around an hour of hating teenagers and waiting for Charlie to actually create some dread, things do get a tad exciting. Most notably are a few highly creepy scenes of Charlie preying on his victims in the background of the shot with no music or sound effects, just the tears and total fear of the person he is stalking. The movie also has a twist. It makes no sense and isn’t explained but dammit, it’s something.
Essentially, The Gallows is a complete mess and only worth watching if you have an odd fascination of staring at floors while characters run away in a panic. It is so poorly composed that characters constantly find themselves split up leaving the viewer utterly confused on how it even happened. Nothing about this movie is terrifying or entertaining. This truly is a shame considering the trailer featured a haunting rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit vocalized by evil little girls that was awesome and enough to make me fork over cash for a ticket. What a mistake that turned out to be.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook