by / July 15th, 2015 /

The Gallows

Review by on July 15th, 2015

 1/5 Rating

Director: Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing
Cast: Cassidy Gifford, Pfeifer Brown and Ryan Shoos
Certificate: 15a
Running Time: 81 minutes
Release Date: July 17th

Twenty years ago, a student was killed on-stage during a high-school play. Today, as a type of commemorative anniversary, some students are putting the play on again. Because that’s a really good idea and nothing could go wrong, kinda like launching the Titanic 2. There’s the annoying jock (who also doubles as the “found-footage” cameraman holder), there’s the cheerleader, there’s the quarterback who no longer wants to be the quarterback because he’s got dreams beyond sportsing, there’s the drama queen (in both definitions), there’s the constantly bullied nerd… It’s essentially a cross section of clichéd high school stock characters for anyone who can’t be bothered to deal with depth or more than one dimension.

For reasons that don’t really warrant explaining, they all break into the school the night before the play but then find themselves locked in, getting picked off one by one by a ghostly figure wearing an executioners mask and carrying about a noose. This ghost is a very modern polter-pest, capable of blocking cellphone signals and disrupting electrics so that lights either don’t work, or blink on and off in a creepy way.

Between the immensely annoying people on-screen and the horrific (not in a good way) dialogue they’ve been saddled with by writers Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, it’s up to the directors to stir up some good scares from this mess. Unfortunately, those directors are also Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, and beyond the usual SUDDENLY LOUD AND EXTREMELY CLOSE jump scares, there’s not one redeemable enjoyable fright in the film’s scant 81 minute run-time. Borrowing liberally from both A Nightmare on Elm Street and I Know What You Did Last Summer, there’s nothing approaching an original thought to be found here, with the “surprise twist” blindingly obvious from about five minutes in.

It’s get to the point where you think that the makers of the movie are aware of how terrible it is, and are leaving clues in the dialogue. “You suck! You’re a terrible actor!” shouts one of the cast at the other, surrogating the audience shouting the same thing at the screen. “Reece, what the hell is this?” begs one of the soon-to-be-victims, mirroring our own incomprehension at what’s happening. “I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.” This could be either of the writer/directors apologising directly to us, mid-movie. We don’t forgive you!