The Gallows

Reese Mishler, Ryan Shoos, Pfeifer Brown, Cassidy Gifford
Directed by Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Rating: D

It’s exactly what you would expect from a movie that takes place in high school: dumb kids, bad acting (at least the actors resembled teenagers versus other movies with actors double the age they were playing), and wishing you were watching a different movie.

Twenty years following the death of a high school student while performing a play called The Gallows, this mid-West school decides to give the play another chance. The students are a mix of jocks and theater kids who have no choice but to take a drama class once before they can graduate high school. Why else would a football player be taking the lead? Reese and Ryan are not as enthusiastic about performing in front of everyone so they agree to trash the set the night before the premiere in hopes that it will be cancelled.

Just as these two guys start breaking apart the set, followed by a tag-along girlfriend, the boys are busted by the lead actress who was suspicious of an abandoned car in the school parking lot. As they try to leave the school, the four find themselves locked in. One by one they are targeted by the angry ghost of the boy who died, without any real reason other than the fact that these kids didn’t want to do the play.

The Gallows never seemed like a movie to be taken seriously but it really stooped to a low level with poor acting and over-doing the jump scares. The best parts of the movie was when all the characters were quiet and in defense mode when something terrifying seemed to be lurking around the corner. In The Gallows defense, it did get scary. The use of limited lighting and a creepy mask used sparingly for the truly scary moments helped keep the movie entertaining. The actors clearly didn’t have enough experience because of their intense camera staring (mainly Houser) and annoying expositions (looking at you, Shoos). These actors did portray believable high-schoolers though, from the way they dressed and tried to use slang.

Overall there was no real reason behind the ghost’s vengeance. It was shown that his death was accidental and The Gallows provided no motive for someone to want to kill him. There wasn’t any suspicious prank-like activity that went wrong and caused his death, so why the lead actor of the play thought it was his fault was beyond me. The high school setting and idea of a play being re-enacted after a death was a good starting point to the movie. The general script just needed to be re-written.

The Gallows could have been a good, creepy horror movie, but unfortunately it failed. It used big names like “From the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious” but this was nowhere as good as either of those movies.


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