Review: The Gallows
PLOT: Twenty years after a disastrous high school production of The Gallows resulted in the accidental death of a student, the drama club tries to re-stage the play. When some of the new kids involved with the play sneak into school the night before, they fall prey to a deadly presence linked to the original, deadly production.
REVIEW: Ugh just when you thought the found footage genre couldnt get any worse, here comes THE GALLOWS. The fact that this is getting a wide theatrical release courtesy of Warner Bros speaks to how low our horror standards have gotten. Not only does this el cheapo Blumhouse Production lack any actual production value, but with only the barest semblance of a plot and some truly abysmal acting this ranks as perhaps one of the worst horror movies Ive ever seen and Ive seen plenty!
To start with, THE GALLOWS sports the most obnoxious cast of teens Ive ever seen in a horror flick. To say youll be rooting for these kids (all of whom use their real names on-screen) to get killed is an understatement. Maybe writer-directors Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing were trying to make this a horror version of Glee? As such they pretty much lifted their two main characters right out of the show with sensitive jock hero Reese and theater diva Pfeifer being Cory Monteith and Lea Michele clones. Of course theres also the hot mean girl (Cassidy Gifford daughter of Kathie Lee and the only one who gets a different last name for her character) but worse much MUCH worse is Ryan Shoos, our videographer.
Now, I hesitate to blame this guy (or in fact any of the teens) too much as he likely had nothing to work with. But the directors really should have gotten him to pull back on the overacting as his performance is so grating and overwrought that its like he watched Seann William Scott as Stifler in AMERICAN PIE and tried to do the same thing only ramped up to eleven. Its not pretty and given that the guy pretty much provides a running commentary as he films theres very little relief. Again though, I hesitate to blame him too much. Nobody could have done much with material thats this thin.
Ultimately, its not the amateur-hour production that sinks THE GALLOWS. No, its the fact that the filmmakers arent able to wring even one true scare out of the eighty-minute run time that spells its doom. I can deal with a weak horror flick as long as it has some fun scares. This has none, not even for the PG-13 audience that turns out to see these in droves (but seemingly always hates them with the low cinemascore). All the scares are cheap, meaning pop-outs, manipulated sounds, and worse. The only screams youll hear in the theater are from the people on-screen. Id wager the only thing truly frightening about THE GALLOWS is that people are actually going to pony up the full ticket price at a theater to see this nonsense.