The Gallows (2015) Film Review


The Gallows

The Gallows is a found footage horror film (apparently) that is based on a high schools production of a show called the Gallows that went horribly wrong when a student, Charlie (Jesse Cross), died by hanging at the performance in front of an audience in 1993.

The story revolves around Reese Houser (Reese Mishler), Pfeifer Ross (Pfeifer Brown), Ryan Shoos (Ryan Shoos) and Cassidy Spilker (Cassidy Gifford) twenty years later. I think the idea was to have the actors play characters with the same name to make the film seem more realistic and go along with the found footage illusion. It failed. Along with the rest of the film.

CastReese and Pfeifer are performing in the school’s first performance of The Gallows since the disaster in 1993, Reese playing the same role as Charlie, the boy who passed away. Due to Reese’s bad acting his friend Ryan suggests they sabotage the show so it gets cancelled preventing Reese from getting embarrassed in front of his crush, Pfeifer. Ryan comes up with the idea of entering the high school in the middle of the night through a broken door he discovered earlier that day and destroying the set. Ryan’s girlfriend, Cassidy, insists that she comes along leading to the three of them entering the school and destroying the set. However they discover Pfeifer that conveniently gets out of explaining what she is doing in the high school in the middle of the night.

THE GALLOWSThe story continues with the four of them trapped in the school encountering strange noises and a lot of nothing. There are hundreds of films that have a poor story and filled with jump scares that can make it slightly entertaining however The Gallows doesn’t even have the jump scares. The basic fundamentals of the film don’t make sense and the majority of the story is unclear. Charlie doesn’t provide any scares for the most part, and the character itself is questionable with an unclear and confusing ending, however the film wasn’t being intentionally clever it was just inconsistent and isn’t interesting enough to leave the audience intrigued.

CassidyIt’s hard to find positives for such a mess of a film. I’ve always believed that horror films are hard to get right and that trailers aren’t a true interpretation of what the film will be like. I’d argue that the best part of The Gallows is the trailer with Cassidy and the red lighting. The story is poor, the acting is poor, the idea has been overused now and it’s time for a change away from found footage.

Rating: 3/10

Ant-Man (2015) Film Review


Ant-Man_title

Ant-Man is the twelfth instalment of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and also ends ‘phase 2’ of that universe, directed by Peyton Reed and staring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, a thief who is an expert with electrical equipment. Ant-Man has a completely different pace to Marvel’s previous film, Avengers: Age of Ultron which was pretty much action from the off. Despite Ant-Man being a slightly risky move for Marvel it seemed to have paid off with a classy, and probably the best, heist superhero origin story that the MCU has produced.

Hank and ScottAnt-Man concentrates on the ‘passing of the torch’ from Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), as Hank using the Ant-Man suit over the years has had a lasting effect on his body and is unable to use it anymore. Hank and Scott’s relationship is a strong aspect of the film regardless of it being a cliché, Both Douglas and Rudd bring great humour to the characters which enables them to bounce off of each other.

There is no secret from a majority of the marketing that Ant-Man largely relies on its comedic elements to add entertainment and possibly relies on it too much with its lengthy build up. Rudd portrays Scott, as expected, with large amounts of humour, however Michael Pena does a brilliant job of making Scott’s old cellmate Luis annoyingly hilarious throughout the film. Luis tries, along with his crew Dave (T.I.) and Kurt (David Dastmalchain) to help Scott get back on his feet by offering him a job which seems perfectly possible and profitable.

Rudd and LillyRelationships are a heavy theme throughout the film, whether It’s between Scott and his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), Hank and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) or Scott and Hank. The relationships work well and also helps develop the character of Hope and Hank, revealing vital flash backs and explaining the frosty relationship between them both. Hope plays are large role in the film, training Scott alongside Hank to ensure he can use the suit to its full potential.

Scott and CassieAnt-Man uses all characters really well, each having an important ‘moment’ to ensure that plans go as they should or improvising for the good of the team. This also relates to some of the cameos during the film, cameos can sometimes feel forced in the MCU, just to show off a character. However Ant-Man is clever with its links to the rest of the universe, only having characters that could further the story in future films (this will make sense after the post credit scenes). Seeing and hearing links to Hydra and The Avengers gives that larger world feeling to a smaller scale film (no pun intended).

Yellow JacketThe film is not perfect, far from it, and unfortunately one of the biggest issues is something that is becoming a reoccurring theme for the MCU, poor villains. What saves the film is that it is mainly an origin story so the need for a villain is lowered but Darren Cross/Yellow Jacket (Corey Stoll) poses no real threat throughout the film. There are scenes that are meant to be tense and thrilling but aren’t and don’t really give the audience that feeling of fear for a character.

Another worrying thing for the MCU is that they have now done two risky properties in Guardians of the Galaxy and now Ant-Man, both are have heavy on the comedy front, is this going to become a reoccurring theme with risky material? There was a sense of repetition with Marvel going for the funny route after Guardians of the Galaxy did so well.

Ant-Man BathtubOverall Ant-Man is a well thought-out heist film that tells the story of how Scott Lang became the Ant-Man with lots of fun in the process. The CGI is fantastic, especially during scenes with ants and the slow motion stuff. The concept is brilliant and works a lot better than the idea of a man that can shrink to the size of an ant and control ants. It truly is an enjoyable family film that most could watch even if you’ve never seen a Marvel film before.

Rating: 8/10

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) Film Review


Title

Insidious: Chapter 3 is a Supernatural Horror film directed, starring and written by Leigh Whannell, the film is the third instalment of the insidious series, serving as a prequel to the other two Insidious films. The film sees the return of the old team including James Wan, Oren Peli and others all having a role behind the scenes. This chapter follows a family that recent lost its mother, the family includes the father, Sean Brenner (Dermot Mulroney), daughter, Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) and younger brother, Alex Brenner (Tate Berney).

Father and DaughterQuinn struggling with the loss of her mother, Lilith Brenner (Ele Keats), decides to seek out help to communicate with her. This leads to Quinn coming across a retired Elise Rainer (Lin Shayne) that has given up communicating with the dead and reaching out to the ‘further.’ After hearing Quinn’s story she decides to attempt communicating with Lilith and this leads to Elise abruptly stopping the process and warning Quinn about reaching out to the dead.

EliseThe film assists in developing Elise’s character and story which has positives and negatives, it’s successful in adding some new dimensions to her character however it takes away from the story that is unfolding, throughout the film the other characters in it become irrelevant. Additionally Elise is dead in real time, which poses the question why is this series not moving forward, it seems as if the team realised that the best character from the original film was Elise and are now doing anything they can to keep that character involved. The concerning thing is that Whannell has expressed his desire to explore more stories between this instalment and the first film.

Regardless of those negatives the film does deliver on some aspects, as always when I watch a James Wan film, the cinematography is fantastic, whether this is due to all of his cinematographers being great or his direction, it’s brilliant and I would feel confident saying he had an influence on it despite not directing this particular film.

specs and tuckerWhat Insidious: Chapter 3 does well (mostly) is link and tie things together, whilst developing Elise, the films shows the origin of Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell) the two internet fake ghost hunters, well at least they are until they meet Elsie. The audience also get to the see the start of the Elise’s clash with the Parker Crane/Bride in Black (Tom Fitzpatrick), where Elise is told that her life will be ended by the Bride in Black. One attempt at a link that wasn’t needed (or fitted with the continuity of the film) was the appearance of Darth Maul, known as the lipstick faced demon outside of the Star Wars films, which fails to link due to the fact that originally the demon was haunting Dalton (Ty Simpkins), which is in the future of this third instalment.

The man who can not breatheIn terms of how scary this third instalment is, the majority of the film relies on cheap jump scares to entertain the audience with little tension building compared to the other Insidious films. In the horror genre it is vital to have a scary main figure, Insidious: Chapter 3 has this, arguably better than the first film, the man who can’t breathe (Michael Reid MacKay) is fantastic and is the only aspect of this film to provide some creepiness and fear.

Overall Insidious: Chapter 3 is a solid all around film, characters making up for an irrelevant story that was designed to develop previously known characters. Good cinematography makes up for the rushed jump scares and little suspense by providing shock with the angles and movements of the camera. Elise continues to be an interesting and pleasant character whilst also kicking butt at the same time, Specs and Tucker take a smaller role this time around and I felt the film lacked their humour at times which is why this is arguably the weakest of the three films so far. If there is too be future films it would be more interesting to have Elise as a ghost (like at the end of Chapter 2) and Specs and Tucker having a larger role with her assisting in solving the hauntings.

Insidious Elise

Rating: 7/10