Getting locked inside an empty school at night is a solidly bone-chilling premise for teens, and a certain subset of that audience won’t mind that nearly every one of Lofing and Cluff’s ostensibly scary setpieces can be seen coming a mile away (mostly because we’ve already seen them in other movies). Loud noises, narrow corridors, locker doors opening and closing on their own, a television set that turns on by itself to provide expositional news footage — “The Gallows” isn’t without a certain amount of atmosphere, it simply feels borrowed wholesale.
-from the Variety.com review by Geoff Berkshire
I should note that this is one of the kinder reviews I’ve read so far of this movie. This movie was already asking for it with the ad campaign, which had the nerve to compare the killer to Leatherface and Jason Vorhees. Read on…
Originally posted on Variety:
One advantage of selling horror movies to teenagers is that they’re less likely to already know all the genre tropes. That’s about the only thing working for [pmc_film_review_snippet]“The Gallows,” a routine found-footage chiller of interest mostly to those who weren’t yet old enough to catch “Paranormal Activity” in its theatrical release a mere six years ago.[/pmc_film_review_snippet] Fortunately, the microbudget feature helming debut of Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff has a relatively low bar to clear at the B.O., even if grosses fall short of the summer’s other spookfests, “Poltergeist” and “Insidious: Chapter 3.”
The filmmakers quickly establish their mythology in an effective enough urban-legend-caught-on-videotape opening sequence set in 1993, in which Nebraska high-school thespian Charlie Grimille literally dies onstage in a freak accident during a school play. Twenty years later, the school has rather inexplicably scheduled a tribute performance of the same play, titled “The Gallows,” despite concerns from some…
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