Plot: A high school play turned tragic, when a student named Charlie Grimmile was killed on stage during his performance. The play was titled The Gallows and oddly enough, he died from an accident with the noose, which caused him to be hanged for real. The tale became quite the local legend and inspired some ghost stories at the school over the years. Two decades after Charlie was killed, the school plans to put on the play once more, as a kind of tribute to Charlie’s memory and perhaps to remove the stigma from the event. But when one of the stars gets stage fright, some students enter the school at night with a plot to sabotage the play. After all, if the play can’t go on due to the damage done, then no one has to perform. This seems simple enough, but once inside the school, the kids discover things might not go as smoothly as expected. When strange things start to happen, they begin to wonder if some fellow students are messing with him, or if the legend of Charlie is all too real…
Entertainment Value: Do you like the idea of found footage horror movies, but hate to be scared? If so, The Gallows is the movie you need. The story follows a group of young students trying to restage a play that had tragic results decades ago, but instead wind up stirring up some real trouble. The movie winds up as a collection of all the bad parts of the found footage trend and little else to lean on. I do think the movie has some polish, as it has some technical bright spots, but the filmmakers failed to give us a horror movie, content to just bore us to death instead. The most intense moments of The Gallows involve fast moving shadows and jump scares, so if you want pulse pounding horror, this isn’t it. This is PG-13 horror at its worst, a limp and lifeless experience that hopes maybe some tweens will be a little tense as they watch. I can deal with the lack of blood and real scares if the movie would have given us some fresh spins on found footage, but we have seen all of this before, countless times. This even has a brisk run time, but it feels like a much longer movie, as so little happens most of the time. Just a few cheap jump scares and a lot of recycled found footage tricks. The premise had promise, but the filmmakers just dropped the ball on this one. Unless you’re a diehard found footage devotee, you can skip this one.
This one is PG-13, so no nakedness and no blood. Some very minor things happen, such as marks on someone’s neck and such, but it doesn’t even push at all. The movie hides all the violence in the shadows, what little there is. I hoped for some catty teen dialogue at least, but no such luck. If you’re making a horror movie with no blood and no scares, at least give us some colorful dialogue, right? Just some cliches and even the insults fall flat in this one. Some mean girl talk or jock lingo might have worked some small wonders, but that just doesn’t happen. No crazy points either, as this one is not only in line with the found footage conventions, it follows the blueprint from start to finish, with not even one original element. Which is too bad, because the premise is decent and there is some polish on the technical side.
Overall Insanity: 0/10