The Gallows is a very by-the-books found-footage horror film, but it works within its own established boundaries quite well, delivering enough scares to keep audiences on the edge of their seat, despite the film following almost every genre cliche known.
Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing‘s The Gallows is your typical found-footage horror film, filled with inconsistent camera work and slow build up, eventually making way for enough jump scares to keep most audiences occupied. The Gallows follows the found-footage formula pretty close to the chest, yet still manages to successfully entertain for most of its running time.
In 1993 a stage play went terribly wrong as the leading star was hung due to a technical difficulty with one of the props. Now, twenty years have passed and the school is giving the play another shot.
The leading star is having troubles with his lines and his friend (who is also in charge of filming the entire production) suggests that they go into the school the night before and sabotage the set in hopes of ruining the play before it ever has a chance to start.
Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing‘s The Gallows sets itself up rather quickly as your typical found-footage studio horror flick. The opening minutes of the film reveals that you’re watching police evidence, which doesn’t really carry much importance aside from a short scene towards the end of the film.
The rest of the film follows the traditional found-footage format, with the main character controlling the camera being the biggest asshole alive, while the friends that follow him appear not to be much brighter.
That’s okay though, because Cluff & Lofing keep things moving fast enough to distract audiences from realizing that not a single character is cared about here.
The Gallows tries to be smarter than other found-footage films with its attempt at coming full circle towards the end, but everything is predictable as can be and can always be seen coming from a mile away.
But somehow none of that matters too much, because the film never tries too hard to break past the genre mold. It knows that it’s going to get by mostly on its slow build up and eventual jump scare reveals and that’s fine, because the film’s production is good enough to make sure most of those work.
The film does hit a slow spot during the middle, but once characters start disappearing then the horror picks up. The film is rather bloodless for an R-rated film, which is confusing, but probably a hint at the actual budget for the film.
WB picked this one up on the cheap end and sat on it for awhile, which makes sense.
Still, Cluff & Lofing’s ability to cover almost all of loose ends is surprising and makes the film somewhat more enjoyable. The camerawork always makes sense this time around, with no impossible shots or unexplainable moments, which keeps the film feeling authentic and real enough.
The Gallows is still just an okay film at best, because it never bothers trying to explore anything that we haven’t seen done before a million times already. It’s not a bad film though and often-times one that I found myself liking a little bit more than I probably should and that’s because the tension is always there and the scares are consistent enough, even if they aren’t exactly shocking.
Those of you seeking something fresh and exciting on the horror front will want to avoid The Gallows, because its jumps and scares aren’t exactly original, but horror films have taken a huge back seat this summer and I guess we have to take what we can get.
The Gallows is the perfect cheap rental or even a discount theater viewing if possible, because it’s well made by found-footage standards and does a decent enough job trying to scare those that can’t sit still during ghost stories. It’s much better than it looks, but it’s also not that great, which may sound like conflicting opinions, but is actually the sad truth for most studio-funded horror flicks these days.