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Review: The Gallows

Cassidy Gifford stars in Warner Bros. Pictures' "The Gallows"

I understand why found footage movies won’t seem to die. They’re cheaper than even the average horror film, plus they’re usually easy to make. All you usually need are some unknown actors and some inexpensive equipment. I guess that’s how we got The Gallows, a scary movie that hopes to be successful even though it’s done with a style that wore out its welcome a very long time ago.

The Gallows is a Warner Bros. distributed picture is about a group of high school kids who are starring in a new version of a stage production that failed twenty years earlier. It all starts with what looks like the greatest of intentions as they see this as a way to honor the anniversary, but they soon discover the play isn’t the only feature from twenty years ago that’s being resurrected.

As far as horror films are concerned, The Gallows doesn’t have enough of anything to get a reaction from anyone who chooses to watch it. As matter of fact, most of what’s seen in here is what we’ve already seen in the found footage section of scary movies. The only thing that’s different is that it’s set in a high school at night time and a spirit whose weapon of choice against the usual dumb targets is a noose. Other than that, it’s predictably familiar and ultimately lame.

Aside from the predictably stupid characters, one of the many problems with The Gallows comes from the fact that much of what’s being used here doesn’t make any sense. I won’t spoil it for people who for some odd reason would still want to see this after reading my review, but just know that it’s extremely easy to pick apart when looking at all of its flaws. The reality of it is that you don’t even have to search for the mistakes. They’re right here for you to notice without any real effort.

The fact that The Gallows is terrible isn’t shocking to me. Although I love what the genre is capable of offering, I’ll willing admit that seeing another in a long list of failures can’t be seen as rare. What did surprise me a little bit was the reaction from the crowd that I saw the movie with. The crowd in the screening that I attended was mostly uninterested and only really reacted with laughter when something stupid happened.

The Gallows is worthless, but that won’t stop Warner Bros. from making some kind of money off of it. Why? It didn’t cost anything to make, so it can’t possibly be a financial failure. Even though there won’t be a large audience for this found footage retread, it’ll at least some kind of profit for them. Is there any positive for anyone else? I highly doubt it. This won’t give the actors or the people behind its creation much in terms of credibility. It also won’t be able to entertain its audiences.

It appears as if the filmmakers decided to make a movie that they thought would be cool rather than making one that actually works from a sensible standpoint. When thinking about it, it’s hard to see how this would have been critical success, but it’s easy to see how it fails to even be anywhere close to at least mediocre. Since it’s early in the careers of everyone involved, let’s hope that they can rebound and make better movies in the future. That shouldn’t be too difficult.

Rating: R

Directors:
Chris Lofing
Travis Cluff

Cast:
Cassidy Gifford
Ryan Shoos
Reese Mishler
Pfeifer Brown

Film Length: 81 minutes

Release Date: July 10, 2015

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

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