Starring: Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, Cassidy Gifford, Travis Cluff, Price T. Morgan
Director: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Writer: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Running time: 81 minutes
Rated: R (for some disturbing violent content and terror)
Reviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Society
Own The Gallows on Blu-ray Combo Pack or DVD on October 13 or Own It Early on Digital HD Now!
Ghost stories have been around for centuries but you would think that after all these years we would have perfected a way to create a great ghost story – not so much with the new supernatural
thriller The Gallows from mega horror producer Jason Blum and two up-and-coming writers and directors in Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing. The filmmakers pulled off a great feat and made a film that actually made money – a lot of money, but that unfortunately doesn’t make for a great movie in this case.
Twenty years after the accidental hanging death of the lead actor in a high school play, students in the same high school decide to resurrect the stage production of “The Gallows” to honor the anniversary of the tragedy. Four students locked inside the school at night find out the hard way the vengeful spirit of the dead boy from twenty years ago is not at rest and is looking for payback.
The Gallows is yet another entry into the overused and run-down found footage sub-genre. I can understand the rationale behind the found footage approach but this film could have been easily filmed in a traditional manner and would’ve been much better for it. I suppose I shouldn’t knock the filmmaker’s decisions because the film was made for $100,000 and made over $38 million worldwide, so they obviously knew what they were doing and are laughing all the way to the bank. I find the found footage films very frustrating logic wise because this film like most others of this type find the one character that’s carrying the camera never seems to drop the device even though there is a malevolent spirit hot on his tail. I’ll tell you one thing, if I’m videoing someone and a ghost or madman is after me trying to kill me, the first thing I’m doing is dropping the damn camera because it will only slow me down. I suppose the filmmakers can rationalize the character not dumping the camera because they are using it for a light source…so be it.
The writing in this one is nothing original and the characters are one dimensional. Out of the four main characters, we have the jock who’s the lead actor, the hot cheerleader, the drama queen – literally, and the popular prankster who’s behind the camera. These are all the traditional characters from almost any other horror film in existence. The viewer does not have a vested interest in any of them, none are likeable and as they are killed off you don’t really care. The acting is solid and each character manages to do a good job in their roles. The four main leads include Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, and Cassidy Gifford (daughter of Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford).
There are one or two decent scares in the film but overall it’s pretty tame. There’s no blood or gore to speak of, no language or nudity. I’m not even sure why the film was rated R; it could’ve easily passed for PG-13. The film manages to maintain a decent atmosphere of tension and dread but I was really expecting more for the buck.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed in The Gallows. The story was predictable and really lacked a decent plot. On the plus side, there are some decent frights and the atmosphere is creepy enough but if you are looking for something original, this isn’t it and the found footage will annoy those that already aren’t fans of the sub-genre. The Gallows is good for a one-time watch on a Saturday night with your significant other but really has no replay value after that.
Film: 2 ½ out of 5 Pentagrams!
The Blu-ray of The Gallows is exceptional. The colors are outstanding and even though most of the film is viewed through a camcorder everything is mostly clear and concise.
The audio includes a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment. I do not have a Dolby Atmos receiver only normal HD audio, so I can’t comment on the quality of the Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The HD audio was very strong and sounded great.
Other features of the Blu-ray include:
- The Gallows: The Original version
- The Gallows: Surviving the Noose
- Charlie: Every School Has Its Spirit
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
- Concept, Original Version and Theatrical Trailers
- Digital HD with Ultraviolet
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 Pentagrams!
Watch the trailer here,