This year we have seen a number of great Blumhouse Productions and New Line Cinema releases. This week their latest has hit Australian screens.
The Gallows follows a group of high school teenagers during their night-time break in to their school to destroy a theatre stage. The opening scene introduces Charlie and quickly shows his death during a high school play. Fast forward two decades later and the same play is revived in an attempt to honour the anniversary of the tragedy. This time played by students who dare not to say the name Charlie. Except for a few who think it’s all a joke.
The ads and the trailer compare Charlie to other iconic horror characters such as Jason and Freddie, while it’s a great ploy to get curious audiences to watch this movie, it quickly becomes apparent that Charlie is nowhere near in the same league as Freddie and Jason.
As a huge horror fan, I was looking forward to seeing another Blumhouse movie, however story of The Gallows is disappointing and extremely predictable. Unlike Unfriended, this film is neither smart nor innovative. It sticks to the same old formula that so many others have within the found footage genre.
Understandably, most horror films have to suspend some level of belief to make the script work, but frustratingly there are big obvious loopholes in The Gallows that could have easily been fixed prior to production. The background of Charlie and his classmates play a huge part of the story, but that information is only briefly touched upon without any further explanations as to why and how things have happened.
Ryan Shoos plays the stereotypical high school jock who thinks he is too cool. His character is annoying unlike any other I’ve seen in a horror movie. It’s safe to say that most audiences will hope he dies quickly. If that is what the film makers hoped to achieve then they certainly done their job. There is nothing bad to say about the young cast as they worked well with what they got.
There are some genuine jump scares that had even someone like me leap out of my chair once. The creepy tone of the film works well with maintaining suspense alongside the camera work. Which is obviously very shaky but is skilfully used to catch glimpses of Charlie and the surrounding doom the kids face. Sound effects used perfectly accommodate the increasingly creepy elements throughout most of the running time.
With a budget of just $100,000, the film makers have done an impressive job at producing a film that looks much more expensive. It had the potential to be another wonderful low budget gem had the story line been tweaked more.
I got the impression that The Gallows is purely aimed at teenagers, who no doubt will enjoy it for what it is. Horror fans will largely find it forgettable and underwhelming even with its scares and tone.
I rate it 4 out 10 stars.
The Gallows is in cinemas now.