Published on June 20th, 2017 | by Brando Quiring0
Brando finally catches up with The Gallows, which he had heard good things about. Brando, you are about to discover the horror of raw disappointment.
A couple a years ago I remember a few of my friends asking me if I had seen The Gallows, a (then) new horror flick the apparently looked super great in the trailers. I had not, much their disappointment, as apparently in the circles I run in I am the authority on shitty horror movies that are worth seeing. Since that conversation I have been curious to see The Gallows, so imagine my delight when it turned up on Netflix.
Was it worth the wait? Is it my new favorite movie? Did it break any ground in a genre that has become depressingly more formulaic as the years have gone on?
The Gallows is a found footage picture (honestly, found by who? In the movie’s universe, who edited this crap together and who is watching it?) that centers around a high school production of a play called The Gallows and all the typical hijinx that surround such things. Twenty years prior to the events of the film the school did a production of the same play that saw an actor accidentally get hung and die during the premiere and now his ghost haunts the theater and presumably curses anyone who dares to reenact the fatal performance.
A fairly typical set up where we are introduced to our 4 leads, whose names really don’t matter as you can tell who is dead meat, who is the red herring, and who is the plot twist after only a few minutes of watching them interact with each other.
There is Secretly Sensitive Jock who joined the production to be close to Plot Twist, who is behind the drama department taking on the play then there is Jock’s Asshole Friend who can’t understand when anyone would ever want to be involved in theater yet walks around set all day recording everything that goes on and finally there is Asshole Friend’s Asshole Girlfriend who is clearly just there to scream, have something awful happen to her, and then die. Our four intrepid heroes find themselves locked in the school in the dead of night (note the delicious pun) and eventually are stalked by a ghost who uses a noose…hooray.
Visually the movie is your basic found footage fare. Lots of close ups of people looking scared in the dark, lots of shaky cam as people run screaming down dark hallways, and jump scares! Oh, the jump scares. They are the bane of the horror genre as a whole and they dumb down this movie, even when it did have times when it was genuinely atmospheric and spooky.
The plot is simple, which is fine, but the twists are telegraphed with an almost Scooby-Doo level of telegraphing. Plot Twist is so obviously more than she appears to be and virtually every word she says and every action she takes is so obvious that it makes you almost feel bad for Jock, Asshole Friend, and Asshole Girlfriend for being so stupid that they can’t see what is happening. That sort of stuff isn’t okay if your flick is so average that it leaves reviewers (me) wondering how it got a theatrical release in the first place.
The moral of the story is that I waited two years to see this movie because my curiosity was piqued when people were asking me about it. It was a huge let down. Another film that actually had a great deal of potential but squandered it on lame jump scares and an ending so predictable it would have a hard time catching people who didn’t know the boat sinks in Titanic.