Cinematic Releases: The Gallows

Does The Gallows do anything for found footage?

"I'm pooping right now."
Written and directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, The Gallows hit theaters tonight. They've both worked together on past short films such as Kid Hulk and Gold Fools. This is the first feature length film they've collaborated on together. Unfortunately, this found footage flick is straight up dead on arrival. Cluff and Lofing were originally going for a PG-13 rating, not caring to have much blood in the movie. However, it was still thought of as too scary and was kept as an R rating. 

The Gallows stars Reese Mishler, Ryan Shoos, Pfeifer Brown, and Cassidy Gifford as the four high school aged main characters. Fun fact: all four of them use their own first names in the movie! While this adds a sense of realism to the picture, it's just not enough to save it from being one of the worst horror flicks of 2015, and probably one of the lamest found footage features we've ever seen. With glaring issues throughout, The Gallows struggles under the control of poor direction and actors that couldn't act their way out of a box. And the wickedly short run time of 80 minutes doesn't help its case at all.  

It was intriguing and also a little questionable to hear that there was a new serial killer in town, and his choice of weapon being.. a noose? The Gallows introduces Charlie, the latest in a long line of cliched serial killer archetypes that has nothing on his formative iconic horror counterparts. Although The Gallows tells the sordid back story of this new wannabe namesake killer, it just doesn't pan out the way the writers wanted it to. Charlie's background is told but just doesn't feel creative and relies too heavily on standard classic killer tropes. 

"This is what herpes looks like. Beware."
85 percent of the time the camera is handheld. Notably, there is a lot of moving around and a lot of out of focus camera work. The first part of the film really has no point. But once the story takes off, there's more of a reason for the handhelds. To expand,  there's really not much of a soundtrack to speak of but plenty of jump scares and loud bangs. However, there were a couple shots that were pretty creepy and well done for this low budget film. 

The characters are of the stereotypical  high school clique types and are totally annoying.  The reasoning behind Charlie's creation is bull shitted through and not explained very well. Overall, the movie is  predictable but did have a nice creepy taste at the end. Sorry Charlie, but looks like we're gonna leave you hanging on this one. Unlike many other movies in this current genre trend, The Gallows adds nothing new and actually does damage to a type of movie making that's quickly becoming an unwelcome style of cheap horror.  

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-Kirsten Anderson