The Gallows

The Gallows

Twenty years ago a high school play went horribly wrong when an accident resulted in one of the cast being hung live on stage. Seriously? Who sets up a working gallows on stage for a play? Anyway, after 20 years the school decides it’s totally in the best possible taste to re-stage the play and promote it as everyone’s big chance to see how it all turns out when someone doesn’t interrupt things by dying. Trouble is, handicam toting idiot Ryan (Ryan Shoos) has finally taunted wooden leading man Reese (Reese Mishler) – a jock who only signed up for the play because he has a crush on theatre geek and co-star Pfeifer (Pfeifer Brown) – into sneaking into the building the night before the big day and trashing the set, thus avoiding the embarrassment of revealing to the school just how stiff an actor he is.
But when Ryan, his girlfriend Cassidy (Cassidy Gifford) and Reese sneak in, they quickly find that getting out alive is going to be a whole lot harder. If you thought found-footage was a genre that was firmly played out then this will do nothing to change your mind, but if you pay extremely close attention it’s possible to detect a few areas where this doesn’t completely suck. For one, it at least makes some effort to set-up multiple explanations as to what’s going on. Are the theatre geeks getting their revenge? Is it a ghost? Is one of them setting the others up? What’s the connection with the first death 20 years ago? And while this in no way sticks the landing, at least the multiple suspects keep the story slightly engaging. There are even a few genuinely creepy moments, especially during the brief sweet spot when it feels like this might be going for a more subtle, Blair Witch-type approach to building suspense (a sequence where they discover a series of strange tunnels is authentically eerie). But for the most part this blunders around failing to be much of anything: only an authentically hilarious (and extremely cheesy) end credits joke makes it worth sitting through to the end.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris