The Gallows stars Cassidy Gifford (daughter of Frank Gifford and Kathie Lee Gifford) as a high school student haunted by a mysterious entity from the past.

The Gallows stars Cassidy Gifford (daughter of Frank Gifford and Kathie Lee Gifford) as a high school student haunted by a mysterious entity from the past.

Reel Reviews: High school horror lacks spirit

The Gallows is another teenage Handycam ghost story.

  • Jul. 17, 2015 7:00 p.m.

When a young actor accidentally dies on stage during a high school play called The Gallows, the school retires the production.

It takes 20 years before the drama class resurrects the play, which brings with it a cursed hangman.

We say, “It’s another teenage Handycam ghost story.”

TAYLOR: This film has moments that are artistically done, which is rare in a “found footage” film. After all, we can’t get awesome lighting or cinematography when it’s meant to be shot by some idiot, running around with a Go Pro.

This dumb luck seems to have been sourced by staging your horror film mostly in the theatre of a seemingly never ending high school. Also, these inspired moments are few and far between. For the bulk of the film, the kids are walking around spooky hallways, waiting to get picked off by whatever the hangman is, arguing, screaming, alternatively angering and boring me.

HOWE: Wow, that’s a little harsh. Although The Gallows isn’t the best horror movie we will see this year, it won’t be the worst. I thought it was a well put together movie, but saying that I wouldn’t waste my money going to see it. It’s the sort of film that you would find going straight to Netflix or the $1.99 bargain bin.

If we are comparing it to the other found footage films, the Paranormal Activity series specifically, then I found this to be a little more entertaining. This had a mystery to solve: who or what is chasing them and knocking them off one by one. Plus, there were only four of them, so it didn’t take very long.

TAYLOR: That’s funny and true. Still, every single horror movie in the universe uses “walk around in the dark hoping you don’t see what is going to kill you.” Usually it happens a few times per film, occasionally there is an entire movie of it. The Gallows fits into this latter category, which means it was likely to fail anyway. However, it then asks the audience to believe that these kids not only lived this nightmare, but also managed to capture it on film. As a half-baked premise with a stupid format, then merely adequately produced, The Gallows wallows in commonality.

HOWE: I think the main question then is, did it do its job? There’s two answers to that: Yes, it did entertain me for the 90 minutes, but no it didn’t scare me, not once. There’s not even someone hiding behind the door to jump out to get a cheap scare, which some directors would do.

The Gallows is a good movie for younger teens wanting to get into the horror/supernatural realm, not so much for the more hardened horror fan.

– Howe gives The Gallows 2 spotlights out of 5.

– Taylor gives it 1.5 rope burns out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.