Does anyone remember the last time we saw a found-footage film that was actually good? Seriously can you remember? The Gallows reminds us that even though Hollywood loves making found footage movies they seem to be against making them enjoyable.
In this horror film, we have a gang of cliché annoying teenagers Reese Houser, Pfeifer Ross, Ryan Shoos and Cassidy Spliker. The actors seemed to enjoy keeping their real names in the film and Ryan is the only one to keep both his first and last name, so in that same order I give you, Reese Mishler (Youthful Daze *Series, Trace the Sky), Pfeifer Brown (Big Time Rush *Series), Ryan Shoos (Mud, As Night Comes) and Cassidy Gifford (Gods Not Dead, Adventures of Serial Buddies). I feel like I’ve heard this story somewhere before, maybe you have too, about 20 years ago during a school play a horrible accident happens where the main character is actually hung from what was supposed to have been a prop Gallow. Fast forward to the present and the school is putting together the same play in honor of Charlie. Oh, that was the name of the kid who died. Reese is playing the main character in the play to impress his secret crush Pfeifer the only thing is, he’s a jock and he kinda sucks at theater. So to help his buddy out of a sure to be catastrophe of a play Ryan comes up with a plan for him, his girlfriend Cassidy and Reese to sneak into the school after hours and wreck the stage in order to stop the show! At some point Pfeifer, feeling that something is amiss, accidentally runs into the trio catching them red-handed. But from there things only go from bad to worse because Charlie’s back and he begins making quick work of terrorizing the obnoxious teens by picking them off one by one.
So there you have it. The ghost of an angry theater nerd who died by the stage and uses it to extract his vengeance. The story starts out by informing us that the footage we are about to see is official police evidence. I really wish police would stop sending Hollywood their investigation evidence, it’s beginning to look really unprofessional. As you’ll find in the movie Ryan is the one playing the most annoying teen (Guess who dies first?) and he’s the man holding the camera. Of course. So for the most part of the film, we follow him as we go through the story. We go through the origins and the locals talking about how the school is creepy at night because Charlie is still there. Blah, blah, blah. There are lots of ‘jump’ parts in the film. Mainly just someone making a loud banging sound after silence or Ryan being an idiot. The real fun doesn’t start till the four get trapped in the school. But even that sometimes drags and not even for suspense purposes…more like the purpose of just being boring. There’s a lot of running around and running shoes and shaky camera and of course when the good part’s happening whoever’s holding the camera always seems to be having a seizure because we can’t see crap with all that camera motion!
Thing’s that were said and done in the film didn’t make sense. Such as all the football players being upset because they were forced to take part in the play as it is mandatory…When has theater ever been mandatory? And if it was mandatory how come at one point Reese said that Pfeifer asked him to do the play? He already had to do it. It wasn’t an option! Towards the end Reese and Pfeifer are running for their lives and decided to climb up a ladder (I’ve no idea why that was a good idea) and somehow they are able to do this with no problems whatsoever with holding the camera. I have to climb a ladder with both hands so…I guess they’re just better than me. With their magical camera holding and ladder climbing abilities. I have waaay more problems with the movie, but to continue on would make me reveal the twist at the end, which…although is very creepy is also very weird and introduces a lot of questions. So we get another classic wtf ending! We haven’t had one of those since I reviewed As Above/So Below. I don’t recommend that movie either.
Rated R for disturbing violent content and terror.
Rotten Tomatoes has The Gallows at a 16% rotten. Ehh.
I mean found-footage films are pretty much a genre of their own now so if you’re into those kind of movies then you might like this. For the corny horror fan, you’ll enjoy yourself and because of all the jump factors this could be a nice date movie. But if you’re looking for something scary, something that makes sense, something not so cliché, something actually good…please stay away.