This review is property of thecinemen.com. On July 6, two film critics went into a theater and the following is an actual account of what befell them during a screening of “The Gallows.” Names were not changed to protect the families of anybody.
Films that begin with found footage warnings have become so ubiquitous in recent years that I have a hard time not rolling my eyes and sighing when I see them pop up on screen. There was a time that audiences fell for that sort of thing back in “The Blair Witch Project” days and to some extent it was fun to believe that same thing with the first “Paranormal Activity”. However, now it is almost a sure kiss of death for me.
“The Gallows” begins with one of those silly disclaimers and lets the audience know that the footage was found and property of some police station somewhere. It doesn’t matter where or with whom because, well, who cares.
“The Gallows” opens with a fuzzy camcorder recording of a school play where a student befalls an accident and is hung by the gallows that were meant as a prop.
Flash-forward a few years and we are brought into a group of modern day douche bag teens that are acting out the same play. They discover that a stage door doesn’t lock and decide to break into the school late at night. Because, of course they do.
Once inside, an evil spirit starts tormenting them and taking them down one by one. In true found footage genre fashion everything that you have seen before in these types of movies happens but is far less interesting way.
“The Gallows” is filled with horrible characters that you immediately want to die. I don’t mean in the way that “Scream” or “Friday the 13th” handled characters. These are just really horrible kids. They pick on nerds, they are egotistical and they are completely free of any sort of morality that would make them relatable.
The acting is atrocious too. I mean really bad. I love B movies and all sorts of horror films but this one has acting that drags and has no purpose but to space out the runtime of the movie. If you cut out all the bad dialogue and pointless scenes this could have been an interesting twenty-minute short film.
It relies heavily on cheap jump scares that you see coming from miles away. It really offers nothing new. It literally fails on everything that it tries to accomplish and almost had me walking out of the theater.
Right when I think found footage films need to take a break, something profound comes out and changes my mind, like in the case of “The Taking of Deborah Logan,” or “The Sacrament.” This however, reminds me that for every diamond there are 40 turds that wash up on the beach before you get to the good stuff.
All I wanted from this movie was it to end and it even made me wait for that. The killer is a rip-off of Batman’s the Scarecrow and the story surrounding him is completely contrived and forced to give another delineation of why this genre needs to take a break or get creative.
Oh my god! I just heard someone behind me! I’m gonna go check it out, I’ll be right back….
This “The Gallows” review was never heard from again.