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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Movie Review - The Gallows

The Gallows (2015)
Starring Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, and Cassidy Gifford
Directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing
***This film is currently available on HBO Now***

I will readily admit that there were one or two scares that had me jumping out of my seat as I watched The Gallows, but even with its 80-minute running time, the flick meanders through the lives of unlikeable characters in a tired found-footage format with a premise that just seems too far-fetched to really be believed.

Back in 1993, high school student Charlie Grimille is killed in a horrible accident during a school play titled "The Gallows" when he is left hanging from the titular execution device onstage.  Cut to twenty years later and senior drama student Pfeifer (Pfeifer Brown) stages a revival of the play, casting herself and football player Reese (Reese Mishler) as the leads.  After being taunted by one of his friends Ryan (Ryan Shoos), Reese agrees to wreck the set of "The Gallows" with Ryan and his girlfriend Cassidy (Cassidy Gifford) the set before the debut so that the production will have to be cancelled and Reese will save himself from embarrassment.  Unfortunately, upon entering the school that evening, they find themselves in a world of trouble with someone hellbent on not letting them escape alive.

As mentioned, there are moments in The Gallows when co-directors (and co-writers) Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing succeed at jump scares and building the requisite tension.  However, Cluff and Lofing's script contains one too many plot holes and inconceivabilities.  Contrivances abound to keep the kids locked in the school -- was there really no window in the entire school to break out of despite the fact that they try to tell us there isn't; secret passageways go unnoticed by faculty and students for decades -- and the plot ends up harming the film more than helping it.  The cast of relative unknowns in game (with the exception of Ryan Shoos who is unfortunately sired with an incredibly one-note obnoxious character), but the found footage format does them no favors and the film takes too long to really kick into gear.  There are certainly worse horror movies out there without a doubt, but The Gallows isn't a winner.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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