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


The Cabin In The Woods (2012) Review


WARNING, there are a few spoilers in this. Sorry.

This was a good solid film that is enjoyable, however when looked at in depth there were a few things that I wasn’t keen on. Through this film I felt like I was watching a film I had been seen before, the main example being the scene when a character is reading from a book, which summons some Zombie-like creatures (sound like The Evil Dead much?). Anyway the film was about five college students  Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly), Holden McCrea (Jessie Williams), Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz), Jules Louden (Anna Hutchison), and Curt Vaughan (Chris Hemsworth) that are all going to stay in a cabin…in the woods. However all is not what it seems as Gary Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Steve Hadley (Bradley Whitford) are senior staff in controlling everything that happens, even drugging the students through the air vents to influence them to do certain things.

In this fairly fast paced film, the story is laid out pretty well for the audience without it having to give a huge speech at the end, a lot of the story is given when the security guy, Truman (Brian White), for the senior staff area which has Hadley and Sitterson in, asks a few questions which seem realistic if someone was in his situation which gives away a lot of the plot. This was good because it’s disappointing when you have the ‘bad guy explaining everything at the end’ cliche however, the end is made more complicated and gave the film more depth than needed and ended up needing the ‘bad guy explaining everything at the end’ cliche, which I will talk a little more about later. This film is an odd one for me personally, it’s entertaining and I don’t ever remember being bored throughout which must be a good thing, however I wasn’t overly impressed. Whilst watching this film it did feel like someone had taken many different ideas from other titles and put them into one film, another film that I felt this was similar to was Thirteen Ghosts in regards to the cage/box’s that were holding many monster type things under ground and having structures move around like one big puzzle.

One thing that the film did do very well was make it kinda funny, which i’m hoping it was meant to do because Marty was probably the funniest guy in the film. He was the typical ‘stoner’ character and did make this film considerably more enjoyable, with a few funny moments coming from the other characters too. There were times when I felt like it wasn’t scary enough, the film was never scary for me, I can imagine people would be scared by zombies, but I didn’t find it scary at all and I didn’t feel like it tried to be scary which is what’s most puzzling for me.

I enjoyed the film more than the story, I felt that it had so much depth towards the end that it didn’t have enough time for the audience to fully understand the idea of the ‘ancient ones.’  Did we really need the ‘ancient ones’ in this film? It could have just been a crazy idea which I think would have made it a bit more shocking, it almost went a bit Sci-Fi towards the end. I’ve got nothing against this film as I probably would watch it again, but I’d probably still get a little mad at the ending. Overall this film is good, I’m not keen on the fact that it’s taken many good things and put them into one because many people i know and many things i’ve seen about this movie claim this makes it original, well in my opinion it doesn’t make it original at all, it’s basically copying someone else (I appreciate that most ideas have been taken for the Horror Genre). I wish I had gone to see the first 80-85 minutes in the cinema and missed the end because for me it did ruin it a little. Cabin in the Woods was good, the ending let it down but it was still decent and it’s still watchable even though I know the ending sucks, I probably will buy it on DVD.

Rating: 7/10

A little rant about the negative attitudes towards Horror films…

I’m the first one to say if a film isn’t good, but looking at reviews at horror film, specifically Insidious: Chapter 2 I feel that a majority of these reviews are hash and not giving a true reflection. One huge issue in my opinion is that people naturally don’t want to admit that they have been scared, or made to jump and look at things that may not seem clear to them and make those things bigger than what they are. Obviously reviews are people’s views and feelings towards that film but if you’re not keen on a genre is there any point in writing a view on it? Generally it’s going to be negative unless you can put that dislike towards horror to one side and ‘get into’ the film. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of bad horror films, but sometimes I get the impression that maybe people go in to it having already made their mind up. You could argue that if the film was that good then that would change their mind but is that why people go to see a film, to see if it can prove them wrong? No, you go to see a film because you think you’re going to enjoy it.