Released 10 July 2015 (USA)
Director: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Screenplay: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Actors: Reese Mishler, Pfiefer Brown, Ryan Shoos, Cassidy Gifford
In 1993, tragedy strikes a high school production of the play “The Gallows,” wherein a young teen named Charlie dies on stage. Twenty years later, the school decides to revamp the show and put it on again, after one of the actors insists in honoring the anniversary of the tragedy. However, the night before opening, a group of friends decide to go into the school after hours and tear down the set so the one friend (Reese) will not have to perform. What they don’t know, is that Charlie is watching them, and he’s waiting to see curtain call.
The one decent (slightly unique? ish) thing this movie had going for it was its setting. I really liked that the action took place in a school after hours when everything seems both familiar and unfamiliar. It’s a great way to explore the uncanny, if you do it right. This movie attempted to do so, especially with the lack of lights or the odd red lighting in some parts. Unfortunately, because the movie is found footage, they don’t get to play with it as much as they could have. I still think this could be an interesting setting, if used in a non found footage format. And the atmosphere was similar to every other found footage movie we’ve seen. It’s nothing new or original in that sense.
The acting in this movie is pretty terrible. The dialogue is bad and the delivery is clunky. Though, I will say, Ryan sounds like your typical high school douche bag. He’s a terrible character with absolutely no reason for being such an asshole. If we’d gotten even the smallest lines of dialogue explaining why he’s so mean, it would have been nice. It would have provided some semblance of character complexity. As is, there is no depth with these characters. You’re not going to connect with them, and you’re not going to really feel bad for them.
Scare Factor/Disturbing Moments
This movie is not scary. This entire movie is built on jump scare, after jump scare, after jump scare. And there’s this weird build up music that happens, even though there is never any other music, so you know exactly when the jump scare is happening. There’s no blood, and there really aren’t any disturbing moments. There’s maybe one moment that might be considered disturbing to some, but I thought it was pretty ‘meh.’ Like I said, I think the fact that this movie was found footage the film no favors. They weren’t doing anything unique with the found footage, so it just took away from moments that could have been effectively creepy or scary. And there’s nothing scary about jump scares. I, in fact, hate them. And the worst part about the jump scares in this movie is that there was nothing actually scary brought to the screen after the ‘jump.’ So.
Overall, I didn’t care for this movie. Not seriously. I laughed for a majority of it and made ridiculous commentary with my friend. It’s not a horror movie to be taken seriously. As I’ve stated, the dialogue is bad, the plot is terrible, and the acting is sub par at best. The worst part about the movie is the ending, where there’s this huge ‘twist’ that completely undermines any sense the movie might have made. It’s a ‘good’ movie to watch if you want to be entertained by a terrible plot for 82 minutes. Not a good movie to watch if you’re actually looking for a good horror movie. What could have been a cool plot and unique concept was boggled down by all of the absurdity. I mean, we never even get a description of what the play is about. It exists solely as a way to introduce the noose. I give The Gallows three out of ten skulls.
Until next time, stay scary.