Here we are again with yet another attempt in the found footage genre. Like others before it, The Gallows brings to the screen a barrage of shaky first person camera angles and overused jump scares. Normally, these attributes would generate an onslaught of rants and bouts of anger from me, but that isn’t exactly the case here. Don’t misunderstand. The Gallows is still far from being placed on the list of “good horror films,” but it definitely wasn’t the worst. I believe it’s an enjoyable and haunting film trapped in a sub-genre that has overstayed its welcome.

The Gallows takes place 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town play, and follows a group of students who partake in their schools attempt to resurrect the show. Soon after they find themselves caught in game of survival filled with terrifying secrets that unlock a dark and hidden past.

The film had a lot of potential, and that was clear. But naturally, the film flopped and was hindered by a genre that thrives mainly from its predictable jumpscares. Sure, in the back of the theater I may have heard a few people yelp, but none of it was ever really scary, if at all. What kept this from being another lackluster film was its horrifying and intriguing story. While not completely original, its execution and pacing was actually quite impressive. Those two factors are key and it is especially rare when you see it in this kind of film. Its plot was just enough to keep you wanting more. It was engaging and kept you in a state of wonder, and in my book that equates to at least one viewing.

The performances were solid, especially with this being most of the casts first big role. You get your ear popping screams, fear filled eyes and so on. It’s all there, but like the film itself the genre took away from the effect that it could have had on the audience. The actors alone did not fit well with the pacing. You move from character too quickly, and instead of getting into their head space and fearing what they fear you end up being tired of them, and actually begin waiting for them to die. One role in particular that sparked interest was from actress, Pfeifer Brown. Without spoiling too much, she handles her character well, she’s believable, and aims to stray away from the the cliched character we are so used to seeing. There’s only so much you can do with screaming your head off, but she seemed to handle that well. Overall, the cast did well with what they were given and their performance is something worth checking out.

Most of my problems with The Gallows lies within the films genre. It doesn’t make it a bad film, but in many cases it calls for lazy and uninventive filmmaking. It is no longer a stylistic choice. Instead it just feels like an easy way to make a movie. Remove the subgenre, rework the script a bit and we would have ourselves one hell of a horror flick — Knowing that is rather upsetting. In a time where the found footage genre has become over-saturated and lost all it’s creativeness it is easy to overlook and ignore this film, but if you’re looking to kill some time definitely check it out and take it for what it is. I’m sure you’ll find something you can enjoy.

The Gallows - Poster