I hate getting right to the point, but damn was The Gallows lackluster. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. The Gallows is an uninspired horror film that relies heavily upon jump tactics to “scare” its audience. It also takes a long ride on the “found footage” hype train, with it being filmed on cellphones and a video camera. I can only remember a few scenes where the camera stayed stable for about 20 seconds. Seeing as it was produced by the crack team that brought us Paranormal Activity, I should have guessed this would be the case.
To the people who make movies: NO MORE FOUND FOOTAGE. It’s old, it’s boring, and it (literally) makes me want to throw up.
Now on to the plot. I call it a plot, because it tried, but fell flatter than a white girl’s butt (I can say this, I am a white girl.) In the beginning, there was shot footage of parents recording a school play called, you guessed it, The Gallows. During the play, a boy named Peter is accidentally hung in the gallows scene, which results in his untimely death. Peter was supposed to play the hangman, but the person playing the lead role dropped out so Peter took the lead, and an unprepared actor took the place of the hangman, resulting in his death (We learn this later in the movie, but I’m throwing it in here because it doesn’t make things any worse). This happened in 1993.
Check out the sweet VHS action here!!! Wow, that’s a very blurry death scene.
Cut to 2013, 20 years after the tragedy. An asshole teenager (is there any other kind in these movies?) named Ryan is videotaping his friend Reese, who quit the football team to join drama. He is in a school production of, can you guess? If you guessed The Gallows, then you are smarter than the average glue stick. We learn that the girl who plays the female lead, Pfeifer, pushed really hard to get this play put on. This kind of gives away the ending…just a bit.
To establish that people are still upset about the original play they place the woman who played opposite Peter in 1993 in the audience, and say that she is there every day. Same seat. Just watching. If it were a man, the cops would have been called and he would have been out of there. But she’s just a creepy middle aged woman. Totally harmless.
We then get to meet Ryan’s girlfriend, Cassidy. She’s a cheerleader, and she’s mean to the drama nerds right alongside Ryan. Can you say overused troupe?
Ryan makes fun of his friend for the first 30 minutes of the movie about his choice to leave football for drama, and Cassidy makes fun of his choice in ladies (Reese like Pfeifer! Oh boy!). The script is tepid here, as it is throughout the film, but I found this part particularly annoying. WE GET IT. HE’S GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN FOR A GIRL. STOP BEATING A DEAD HORSE AND GET ON WITH THE CRAPPY MOVIE, ALREADY.
Anyhow, Ryan manages to convince Reese to go to the school at night and ruin the set so that he doesn’t have to go through with the production. Somehow he manages to get Reese to do it, even though he knows it will make Pfeifer mad AND he seems to like being in the play.
Can you please bring Ryan, Reese, and Cassidy to the killing floor? Thanks.
After taking apart a few small pieces of the set they hear a noise and hide. Queue Pfeifer, who just happened to see Reese’s car in the parking lot and mosey on in (because that’s a totally normal thing to do). From here things just become shaky and boring.
They find themselves locked in the school, their cellphones only working for recording and lighting (how convenient for the plot of being trapped in the school!) and the landlines all down. Did I mention there is no power either?
We do pick up some info that is supposed to give the story some purpose. Reese’s dad was the actor that dropped out of the 1993 Gallows production, which ghost Peter has decided to take out on Reese. Very imaginative.
The 4 spend the rest of the movie running away from a “ghost” that is picking them off one by one. Ryan and Cassidy bite it first, respectively. That leaves good ole Reese and Pfeifer. They see an open door and Reese manages to make it out, but Pfeifer is left behind so he goes back for her. “Someone” turns on the spotlight to the stage, and our last 2 characters begin to act out a scene from the play after Reese realizes that he has to go to the gallows to save Pfeifer. They act it out, he walks to the gallows and places a rope around his neck, and ghost Peter hangs him. Pfeifer must be safe now, right?
Yep. She has no reaction to this death and takes a bow at center stage, where the creepy audience lady from earlier begins to clap, and we see ghost Peter holding Pfeifer’s hand. They were all in it together!!! Two very alive people, and one dead dude with a hangman mask on! Pfeifer was the daughter of Peter and the creepy lady! Wowie, what a crazy twist!
The one good thing I will say about this film is that whoever did the lighting did a great job. The lighting was the star of the movie. It did it’s best to build suspense, but it never got to fulfill that promise due to a bad script, “jump” sequences, and a flat plot. Sorry Lighting team, you did your best!
So here are my final thoughts. This movie was bad. Like,” I would live tweet this on a Sunday because I want to make fun of it and I’m hung over” bad. They set the movie up for a sequel, and I’m sure it will get one. Probably straight to DVD, but I can see this happening. I will never watch this movie again, and if you love good horror I will also encourage YOU not to go see this movie…unless you want to make fun of it. You could better spend your time kicking rocks, counting the blades of grass on your lawn, or trying to catch your own shadow.