Film Review: The Gallows

School’s Out

Adding to this years’ already terribly mediocre lineup of horror movies this week is The Gallows, another entry into the overblown horror filmography of the murderers of contemporary horror that is Blumhouse Productions, a company famous for their work with the Paranormal Activity series, the Insidious series, The Purge, and of course the Sinister series. Aside from all being produced by the same company, these particular films all share a particular trait in seemingly being the blueprint and and DNA for the way in which modern horror flicks are made, with the age-old use of the quiet, quiet band technique being the cornerstone of each films’ genetic makeup. Sure, there are few good entries within the back catalogue of Blumhouse, particularly the first Paranormal Activity and Sinister, whilst the also have the proud honour of producing Whiplash which still holds its’ own as film of the year so far in my opinion, but a huge chunk of their films are either too similar in tone to be extinguished from any other around them or just being actually plain terrible. In terms of The Gallows therefore, Blumhouse’s new addition to the horror genre hopelessly falls into the latter category with it being a painful experience from start to finish, and not in a good horror movie way.

After a tragic accident during a school production of The Gallows in 1993 where pupil Charlie freakishly died by that of hanging, the same school once again after 20 or so years sets out to perform the play once more, much to the displeasure of Reese who is set to perform in the leading role with an aim to win the heart of his leading lady. When Reese’s friend Ryan comes up with the idea to destroy the set before the day of the show in order to prevent any potential failings on Reese’s part, along with girlfriend Cassidy, they somehow become locked in the school and being to wonder if the evil spirit of the dead Charlie is with them once again. So, where are the problems with The Gallows I hear you ask? Everywhere. Firstly, the shaky, tedious option of the found-footage genre is as generic as it comes within this particular film with it not expanding its’ horizons in any form whatsoever and instead relies on annoying moments of long, boring and ultimately pointless shots of either darkness, a room, or someones’ emotionless face in a failed attempt to mimic or take heed from that of the classic that is The Blair Witch Project. The addition of the ever-infuriating camera shake to enable our protagonists to run away in complete darkness just results in making the film incredibly hard to watch and achieves nothing except making me regret the fact that I could have possibly paid for this film if it was not for the beauty of my Cineworld Unlimited card.

As for the protagonists, this brings me to my second point which is that any good horror movie creates and leaves you with a sense of threat or danger towards characters that you really care about and are meant to worry for during their duration of whatever horrific act their particular horror movie has placed them in. Within The Gallows however, the filmmakers have decided to not abide by this notion at all and instead placed us with the most hateful, annoying, cringe-inducing protagonists I have seen in a long time, especially that of high-school bully Ryan who’s role in the first twenty minutes of the film is to behave like a total ass and act like the kind of person you are just waiting to be murdered horrifically in a film like this in order to wipe his non-nonsensical life from existence. With hateful characters such as this, all The Gallows does is leave you rooting for the supposed evil presence of Charlie to swiftly knock off his victims and get the film over and done with, something of which I sense was not entirely the filmmakers goal. Finally, the film succeeds in bringing one jump to the table and I haven’t decided, or really cared about deciding, whether this was due to the scene being actually quite scary or whether the volume of the showing was fundamentally going to make me jump, yet with this being under the production values of Blumhouse, I am going to go for the latter. Hand your head in shame The Gallows, you are a stinker of a horror movie.

Overall Score: 2/10  

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Posted on 21/07/2015, in Film & TV, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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