Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

The Gallows

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20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honour the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone..

THE GALLOWS

Cast

Reese Mishler – Reese Houser

Pfeifer Brown – Pfeifer Ross

Ryan Shoos – Ryan Shoos

Cassidy Gifford – Cassidy Spilker

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Left Hanging

The Gallows is just awful. From beginning to end, absolutely shocking. Which was a shame and pissed me off because I usually like horrors with this sort of plot. It had the potential to be very good – I mean, what ‘found footage’ horror has been set in a school recently? The story was there. The concept, the mood, and setting. But unfortunately The Gallows fell flat on its arse and was hung up to dry about twenty minutes into the movie. I think what let it down mostly was its tediously lengthy scenes, one of which was the opening scene where one the lead characters begins filming around his school but gets a little too caught up in his newfound camera ability..

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Ryan begins by wandering around his school halls filming what his peers are up to (nothing much), and then moves to out on the sports pitch where the cheerleading team are at practice. And it was this scene which was ball-bustingly boring:

Camera zooms in on cheerleaders.
Camera zooms back out.

Camera zooms in on fellow school pupils who are carrying props for the school play across the yard.
Camera steadies itself on them for a minute.

(I blinked, eyes starting to glaze over).

..camera zooms back out.

Camera switches to two or three cheerleaders who are sat on a bench talking about incredibly uninteresting things, such as the word “bitch”.
Camera wobbles a bit.
Camera zooms out.

Camera is then in Ryan’s classroom as he films end of day class.
Camera pans across to his friend Cassidy as she sits bored, texting on her mobile phone.

(I blinked again, mouth hanging slightly open).

None of this was even remotely enjoyable and pointless. The only relevant footage was of the school’s drama department as they got the set ready for the performance which was coming up.

The movie soon starts to begin..

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A Trait worse than Death

What a fucking horrible boy. Seriously.
Lead character Ryan contains all the personality traits of someone you’d despise instantly; he’s cocky, disrespectful, immature, irritating and needs a good smack.
In the face.
Hard.

This kid isn’t your average ‘unlikeable’ – he’s a step further than that. As I sat watching this high school student breezing around the screen like a tornado of rudeness, I felt slightly queasy. The main cause of this being when he enters the school’s auditorium after hours with his friends. They approach the set of the play they are putting on, which contains the ominous gallows – steps, platform and a noose made out of thick rope hanging from the beam above.
One of the first things Ryan does is grab the noose, throws it around and howls in a pathetic voice, “look at me! I’m Charlie and I’m dead!”.
I’m not the most morally correct of people myself nor do I hold overly high principles, but by god this scene was horrible – and not in a standard movie way either. I sat there watching this kid speak ill of the deceased character with a frown on my face. It was almost uncalled for and did nothing production-wise to boost the appeal of the movie which was already failing miserably. Yes, I’m aware it’s a film. And that this character is an immature child. But this mockery scene was just vile.

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Ryan also has a habit of running off to tell certain members of the school what his friends think of them. Like an unstoppable force of shit, he sets out to wind people up.
Someone smack this child, please.

As for the other kids, they are largely forgettable. Cassidy the high school cheerleader who although bright blonde and big breasted, is as bland as a Rich Tea biscuit and seems to make no impact whatsoever until she gets a noose round her neck..
Reese is a good bit of eye candy for female viewers and actually delivers a strong performance in one or two of ending scenes. Other than his tight-faced expressions (which look like a duck who just had botox injected) he’s not bad. Just very pale and easily fades into the backdrop.

THE GALLOWS

Literally.

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Pfeifer.
The main star of the school show, and actually probably the best performer in this movie. The girl gives us your classic ‘just can’t keep the dramatics in her pants’ school student; head bobbing around like some over-enthused puppy, flicking of the hair and deadly serious on stage, she’s everything that irritated you about the drama queen in class at school.
And when it came to the end of the movie, she actually had me staring hard. Glued to he screen at what she was doing on stage and screen. The Gallows finishes with such a bizarre sequence played out by Pfeifer that it was actually the only part of the entire movie I genuinely enjoyed.
Keep your eyes peeled in the final few minutes..

THE GALLOWS

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Goosebumps

I’ve referred to this series of 90’s childrens books in a few of my reviews, but that’s because they were so deliciously sinister. And every now and then a movie gets released which contains strange elements which radiate that type of sinister feeling the books did.
Published between 1992 and 1997, author R.L. Stine did a brilliant job of entertaining kids around the world with unusual and scary stories. From a haunted beach and nasty theme park whose rides deliver the total opposite of fun, to ventriloquist dummy’s causing havoc, a camera that brings doom to anyone snapped by it, and a toy mask which becomes the person wearing it, Goosebumps were nothing short of incredible. The imagination behind the series was admirable. And there was a particular book The Gallows reminded me of..

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US version

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UK version

Except The Gallows was a lot harsher, like an adult version of a Goosebumps book. The story for example; student Charlie who was called in to play the part of the character who ends up being hanged. Caught on camera in 1993, the stage structure he ‘hangs’ from malfunctions and he drops for real, being hung by the rope around his neck. Screams of terror and panic cry out from all around the auditorium as people try to help. But he dies. Thus creating the overall story of a haunted school.
A great, plausible story. It had all the ingredients one of these books used to have, it’s just a shame it turned out so shit.
Shame.

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Unbreakable

When Ryan, Cassidy, Reece and Pfeifer first become trapped in their school, what’s the first thing they do to try and get out?..

..anything and everything except break a window or door.

As Ryan films around the place, various exits and glass windows are right there in front of them – yet the kids instead decide to run around in a panic, screaming and swearing. When the school’s faulty back door which never locks actually closes and locks, the group are confused and try pushing against it to get out. Yes – pushing against it.
I literally sat there thinking, “kick the fucking thing down!”. All they had to do was make a run at the door with a hefty stage prop and they would have been out in seconds. Yes, I know this would shorten the movie dramatically and in fact kill the story, but we’re in 2015 – the age of the Apple iPhone, and yet these kids don’t conjur the idea to ram the door with all they’ve got. Ryan is cheeky enough with his mouth, it just came across unbelievable he wouldn’t go a step further with his fists.

Same in the school corridoor. When one of them enters, there are glass windows dotted around them – but no. They’d rather stay inside. For fuck sake, it cannot be that difficult to get out of the school!
Points lost here yet again under subject ‘dumbass’.

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Considering I disliked The Gallows so much I’m surprised I managed to write anything about it. However, as you’ll read above my views here are mixed due to how this movie was made. It has a brilliant concept and in some ways emotional story, but is executed very poorly. Like a good book with the middle chapters torn out, this movie flows without proper substance. The events take place but are diluted instantly by tediously lengthy scenes and idiotic characters who seem to enjoy running round their school while effectively nothing happens.

The Gallows contains roughly three or four ‘jumpy’ bits, but other than these it is nowhere near as scary as I’d hoped. At one point I actually found myself willing something to happen, staring at the screen trying to concentrate on feeling scared because nothing was happening on screen. It was just awful.
If this movie was a social event, it would be the flute of Champagne (a rubbish brand) in the foyer before the main party. It’s a warm-up, like a time filler before settling down to enjoy an actual movie. Gore fest really has become snore fest with this.

For the love of Christ people, DO NOT pay good money to see this movie. It’s not worth a single dime.
You’ll notice from my cinema ticket, even the cinema couldn’t be bothered to spell the full title correctly.
Says it all really.

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This entry was posted on July 21, 2015 by .
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