The Gallows – Movie Review by C.K. MacNamara
Director: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Starring: Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, Cassidy Gifford.
In the midst of the summer movie cycle comes The Gallows, a self-declared ‘horror film’ from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Sinister; a tagline that refuses to relent in assuring itself that those films were nothing less than cinematic masterpieces.
The latest instalment of Blumhouse Productions, notorious for low budget – high profit ventures in strict formulaic approach, The Gallows wields the usual checklist of tropes and cheap nightvision camera in shameless self-awareness and cost effectiveness – this is a profit venture, not a film. Critiquing its cinematic merits thus becomes pointless, and there is little to comment about outside the meta-stance of examining it as parody of what a horror film SHOULD be.
In a premise shovelled from the bowels of a first draft dustbin, a high school theatre production based around a hanging goes awry when the stage collapses and the lead actor is hung for real – much to the chagrin of the audience. Now the ghostly manifestation of melodrama, the undead Charlie haunts a gaggle of his former school friends on the anniversary of his demise, rather than perhaps the incompetent stage hands or safety regulators actually responsible (Perhaps this isn’t a horror movie at all, but an ingeniously designed political piece documenting America’s underfunded school system).
The jock/jerk/nerd templates that form our protagonists offer neither likeable personalities or performances, and their fluctuations between taunting the ghost and loitering around precarious ledges to fleeing down poorly lit hallways in mock ‘terror’ form the bulk of the films’ sluggish 80 min showcase.
Harnessing every trope and cliché this film slumps out of the Hollywood boardroom without an audience to greet it, neither original enough to appeal to horror fans, nor big budget enough to lure in the general movie goer. Its aspiration lies solely in selling itself to first time horror viewers who may not yet be immunized to the old clichés, before reshuffling its loose script for a winter release under a new title – In the style of Blumhouse Productions the name of the game is rinse, release and repeat.
Categories: Movie Review, Movies
I saw the trailer for this yesterday which I think is poor in itself and it strikes me as a film that I would watch five years down the line on Netflix when bored.
I’m not sure it’s even worthy of a bored Netflix watch by the sound of it!