For those that don’t know I am a huge horror movie fan. Due to the hundreds of horror films I have seen in my life time I should probably admit that I have become a bit jaded over the past few years. I mean is it just me or has horror hit a rut the past few years? Sure there are the rare exceptions like the Insidious movies, Oculus and The Conjuring to name a few. But beyond that horror movies just haven’t been scary at all.
So in comes The Gallows and let me just say from the start I wanted to like this movie. For one it is filmed in Fresno CA which is the city I live in. Nothing cool ever happens in Fresno so I can’t lie that the hype the movie generated around this city kind of had me pumped up to see this movie. Not only that but I have to admit that the trailer for the gallows had me pumped. But let me tell you people, the trailer and its remake of smells like teen spirit is probably the only thing redeeming about this film.
From the very start The Gallows wants you to hate it. The first main character we are introduced to is a major asshole that spends his time taking video of him being an asshole to his drama club class mates. The dude is totally unlikable and deserves to be nominated for this years razie award for worst actor/character. But Then again on second thought maybe he was a good actor. I mean within 2 minutes I hated the guy and couldn’t wait for his demise so I guess he did something right.
Beyond the initial introduction of annoying character numb er one we are introduced to a totally unbelievable and unoriginal plot. In 1993 a student by the name of Charlie was accidentally hung during the schools production of The Gallows. Now fast forward to 2015 and the same school is doing the same play again which even includes having the same exact programs as the ill fated 93 production. Is it just me or does this plot seem like it was ripped straight from an RL Stine goosebumps novel? No wait…Fuck that Goosebumps books are scarier than this horse shit. Not only that but seriously why the fuck would a school redo a play that ended in the tragic death of one of its students. Talk about insensitive. Then again that is probably just whinny liberal me jumping on the insensitivity train that we all love to dick ride. So lets just move right along shall we?
The other characters in the film include a misunderstood jock that like the nerdy drama girl and the asshole we previously mentioned girlfriend who happens to be the daughter of Kathy Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford and I really have to question if their status helped her land this role, because she is fucking terrible. In actuality the entire cast is fucking terrible. Not only are they bad actors but all of their characters are annoying as shit.
Okay so enough ragging on the cast lets get onto the actual movie. The gallows follows in the footsteps of films like the blair witch project and paranormal activity. This means shaky camera work and jump scares galore. Now I know that found footage movies are kind of an acquired taste. Some people love them and others hate them. I fall into the camp of loving them as long as they are done well. The gallows isn’t done well. The run time of the film is an hour and 22 minutes and I swear to god that 70 minutes of that time is spent watching the camera pointed at the floor while mindless dumb fuck teenagers run around getting scared by loud noises.
This technique is the gallows idea of building tension. For the average 13 year old girl this might be an effective technique, for the rest of us including my 11 year old son who came to see the movie with me, this technique is only effective in two ways. One making you sick and two making you just wish the film was over.
Time after time this movie tries to scare the audience with loud noise jump scares. Doors slam, ladders fall, things drop on the floor and every time it is during a moment quiet moment where you assume that the film was trying to build tension. All this does is make the film totally predictable. When things get quiet something loud is going to happen. It’s not fucking scary. It’s just annoying. Not once in this sorry excuse for a horror film was I even remotely on the edge of my seat. And this has become a huge problem with modern horror movies. It just seems like all the new scary movies coming out these days try to pummel us with jump scare after jump scare. When are directors and writers going to realize that a well thought out story is what scares an audience, not making our ears bleed.
Now I don’t want to ruin the quote un quote “story” of this film because there really isn’t one but the end of this film is a total mess and really makes no sense in the context of the rest of the story. The only reason for the end scene is to try and setup sequels for what the makers of the film hope will be the next new horror icon. Charlie the hangman. That’s right folks, forget Jason, Freddy or Michel Myers. Charlie the hang man is here to bite your fucking fingers off. Seriously, Charlie? Charlie the hang man? What the fuck!!! For the life of me I don’t know Why the named him charlie. All I could think every time his name was mentioned was the classic you tube video charlie bit my finger. It’s as if the writers of this film decided that adhering to every generic horror cliche wasn’t enough. No, they needed to name their supposed new horror icon one of the stupidest most least fear inspiring names ever.
So in closing as far as my thoughts on the movie I just want to say avoid seeing this movie at a theater like the fucking plague. Do not make the mistake I made and waste hard earned cash on a movie that was obviously made on the cheap and released in the summer just to make warner bros a little bit of cash. The Gallows is fucking horrible. If there was a grade lower than an F I would give it that.