July 10, 2015

Movie Review: The Gallows (2015)

The next great horror icon is here, his name is Charlie. What makes Charlie so scary? Well, he waits for you to stage a high school play, locks you inside, and proceeds to hang you with his noose. Or something like that. This is what they would like you to believe. You know, I had some hope for this one, I'm not sure why. I saw the trailer and it looked relatively interesting, perhaps even a little scary. Of course, I was wrong. I am not usually quite this straightforward so early in a review, but I suspect this is not going to go all that long. If I was watching this on Netflix, I would have turned it off quite early.

The Gallows is just not a good movie. The film was independently financed and produced by the writing/directing duo of Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing. They have mined the found footage genre and made a film that has little mythology, unlikable characters, and goes on for too long (at 81 minutes including credits). It just asks too much in the suspension of disbelief. Now, I am all for allowing a movie to have its own reality that does not require it to conform to my reality, but sometimes there are things that would not make sense in any world. I did like the tag line: “Every school has its spirit.” Too bad it doesn't describe a better movie.

The movie begins with a video recording from 1993 of a high school play called The Gallows. As the play reaches its climax, there is an accident involving the prop gallows and the star of the play dies. This leads into onscreen text stating that the video is evidence and property of the police. The next video is in 2013 and we are in the same school where the drama class is preparing to do another production of The Gallows.

Of course, the lead is a football player who is not much of an actor. His friend, who is recording everything, has a plan to get him out of the play and not lose face in front of his crush (just go with it). So, the teens go to the school at night and start wrecking the set, then they find the doors locked, and they rightfully freak out. They are then hunted by the spectre of Charlie (the kid killed in the 1993 production). That's it.

This movie stretched my ability to accept. I really do not think there would be any school that would allow a production of a play that killed a student to ever be staged there again. Then there is the fact that none of these kids say anything that makes sense. I get the idea that people do not always act rationally, but even accepting that, these kids say nothing that really makes sense. It gets progressively sillier and sillier until we get to the end where “all is revealed” only to find no one cares, or finds it humorous rather than scary.

It takes bits of Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, and perhaps a dash of Sinister. It then proceeds to suck out all of the intelligence, or potential intelligence, tosses in a couple of phony jump scares, and just throws it at the screen in hopes that the audience will stay in their seats until the end. Then there is that guy recording it all, he such a seriously unlikable character that I was put off right from the start. They should have given us at least one likable character.

You can safely skip The Gallows and miss absolutely nothing.

Not Recommended.

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