Blockbluster: The Gallows
Quick Summary: A found footage horror film that lacks in compelling plot, characters, or a story. Not even worth watching to mock.
More Info: IMDb
The Gallows – Official Trailer (Minor Spoilers)
I love horror. I love horror so much that I try to catch every new horror movie no matter how terrible it looks. The responsibilities of real life prevent me from actually doing such a thing, but I still do what I can. This of course means that for all the good horror films I see, I also see a lot of bad ones. The Gallows is one such example of a bad film. It's a found footage film that makes many a mistake common in the genre.
Like shitty camera that just annoys instead of adding to the atmosphere.
Like most horror movies, before throwing you into the horror it takes its time to set things up. This is all well and good in and of itself, but it's important to keep this set-up both interesting and to a reasonable time frame. Instead, The Gallows takes a good 40 minutes of its runtime to really get anywhere. The trouble is that the set-up is boring, uninteresting, and takes way longer than it should.
The movie pads its already short runtime with a good portion of filler footage during the set-up that is utterly unnecessary, irrelevant, and mind-bogglingly uninteresting. Its short runtime is maybe the one good thing about it, as I find found footage generally works best when capped at 80 minutes. However, in this case a mere 8 minutes is already 8 minutes far too long for this drivel.
This padded set-up leaves only 40 minutes for the meat of the movie, but please don't be fooled into thinking it's worth a meal. Instead of a well-cooked steak, we have a course that's the product of a chef eating a steak and thinking "God, that was good. I want to be able to make something like this." So he shits out the steak a few hours later, cooks it again, and then serves it as food. It is the sort of meal that I would demand the head chef personally give me a refund for, even if it had been given to me for free. Please, allow me to elaborate my disdain for my meal.
During the set-up we're introduced to the characters of the film. There are only 4 that will end up being relevant to the plot in any meaningful way, and the rest are just filler to pad the roster. So aside from being introduced to a lot of worthless characters who have no bearing on anything of value in the movie, all the characters, especially the main 4, are insufferably annoying. The good thing about horror movies is you can take a sick satisfaction in watching the objects of your apathy and disgust suffer horrible fates. Regrettably, this movie fails to give you that sadistic sweetness in their suffering, simply because of how unfulfilling the money shots of their demise are.
It has a plot so boring and mundane that I don't think it's even worth my time to explain what it is. However, I decided to review this drek, so I'll do my duty and detail this dull drudgery of this damned cinematic dud, so as to adequately denigrate it. I warn you that minor spoilers follow, though that shouldn't matter as you'd be wise to not waste your time and money viewing it, as you can give yourself a more thrilling and horrifying scare by dropping a deuce in the dark.
Also scarier than this movie.
20 years before the film takes place, a high school play has a horrible accident when one of the student actors is accidentally killed during a hanging scene. It's chalked up to a freak prop malfunction with horrific results. Jump forward to the present day and the school decides to put on the play once again. One of the actors in the play and two of his friends decide to sneak into the school the night before the play and trash the set so they can effectively cancel the play. I could elaborate on why they did that, but it's too daft even for my reviewer responsibilities.
Because it's a horror film, of course they get locked in and things start to go sour (after of course meeting up with a girl that one of the boys has a crush on). You can probably figure out what happens next, so I won't bore you with a play-by-play; I'll just say that it's exceedingly dull and predictable in plot.
The movie attempts to set a frightening atmosphere for the jump scares, but it does so in such an obvious way that anyone who's seen a jump scare before can spot it a mile away. It's so obvious that a jump scare is coming that they may as well hang a bright neon sign in the dark corridors of the movie saying "Jump Scare Imminent." This is only compounded by the fact that the jump scares are terrible, and as usual, not in any way scary. Jump scares are such a commonplace mechanism, but they are so difficult to pull off well. Unless you're hiding a chest burster up your sleeve, you're better off avoiding them altogether.
The coming scares are more obvious than the cumming in a porno filled with girls who scream at the top of their lungs while orgasming.
I've heard a small bit of talk about the end of the film being good despite the monotony of the first 78 minutes. But calling the last 2 minutes "good" is being too generous. The most one can reasonably say is "huh, that's at least more interesting than the back of my eyelids," which is a more favourable statement than one can say about anything else in the movie.
In the end, it's one of the worst movies I've seen, horror or otherwise. If you're in the mood for catching a good horror film at the cinema this weekend, then you're shit out of luck.
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