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 honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone.
Directed by Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Starring Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos
Remember and repeat; This only cost one hundred thousand dollars to make. This only cost hundred thousand dollars to make. This only cost one hun….
You really have to acknowledge this feat of financial tight-fistedness as making any feature these days for this amount of money is practically unheard of (at least with the amount of marketing thrown around in its favour). That doesn’t make it any good of course, but nonetheless, big claps to all involved for keeping a tight hold on the purse strings.
Found footage has largely been an ignored format recently, compared to previous years, particularly in the horror genre, which most would say is no bad thing. It had become a little passé and something of a signal of both a film-makers creativity and effort. It started with Blair Witch and kind of went downhill from there, popping its head up every so often [REC] in new and interesting ways, but for the most part, the majority loved it about as much as paying an extra fiver for a 3D ticket to watch a film you knew already you didn’t like because the 2D showing was full, forgetting the fact that you didn’t even want to be there in the first place.
So with the arrival of The Gallows (which I had spent the last few weeks referring to as ‘The Noose’ as I was talking new releases in the office) there was the requisite amount of tutting and eyebrow-raising at the thought of having to sit through ‘another one of those’.
Accordingly, giving it a break for the budget constraints, we went into this both without high expectations and more than the usual amount of cynicism. Unfair maybe, but time and experience has previously proven this approach to be quite reliable.
And as if catching your much hated next-door neighbour, covertly lurking in his shed, smearing peanut-butter on his private parts for the benefit of his loyal (not to mention peckish) golden retriever, we can say with a certain amount of smug hindsight, that we were right to be a little bit pensive about the whole nightmarish affair.
Set in an American High School on the twentieth anniversary of the accidental hanging of a student during the performance of the school play, the surely soon-to-be re-elected board of school governors have apparently agreed to a remake. Not only does this seem unlikely, but also in incredibly poor taste. The very notion of such an idea is almost as ridiculous as imagining that we would embrace a film involving handsome/pretty teenagers with little or no personality running about dark school corridors at night as, we are led to believe, the ghost of the unfortunately throttled victim two decades earlier takes revenge on the students foolish enough to sneak into the set on the night before the show, in order to sabotage the event, for reasons so far removed from decency that you can’t even see your house from there.
On point, you can almost predict events in order and almost time them to the minute. The perambulatory ambling of the first twenty or so minutes to introduce us to the characters in an attempt (futile though it may be) to gain some engagement becomes tiresome very quickly as most of the characters are quite irksome and in fairness to them, something more bloody might have been a more deserving end (there is severe lack of this, gore hounds, so beware).
What follows is the meat of the project, the general mayhem of running about in corridors trying to escape from a mostly unseen (it’s cheaper that way) entity with the thinnest of plots so as to make the whole thing slightly less than entirely pointless. The screaming and bewilderment are convincing enough, so full marks should be awarded for the running about and shouting thespians, who are doing little more than they have been asked, which really isn’t much.
In conclusion, as this requires little more comment, this is formulaic, tired and horror fans will have seen this so often as to make its existence a little moot. The jumpscares are too few and far between and despite the goodwill assigned to it for its creation on such a tight budget, this really doesn’t deserve the attention. Bargain bin deposit. Find it in your local garage sometime soon, if you must seek it out at all.