The Gallows

During a high school play, there was a horrible accident. A malfunction with the gallows on stage sadly lead to a student hanging to death. Twenty years later, the school’s drama club decides to put on the same play. A group of popular kids decide to sneak into the school the night before the play opens to destroy the set. They soon realize that they are not alone in the dark, creepy high school. Charlie, the boy who hanged, is haunting the school and he’s looking for revenge.

I had really high hopes for this movie. When I saw the teaser trailer (see above) for the first time it absolutely terrified me to the point of getting goosebumps and my eyes watering. Sadly, that was the best scene of the entire movie. This is one of those unfortunate cases where the horror movie gave up all the goods in the trailer, so it wasn’t as exciting or scary when you actually see the movie. Even the later trailers showed pretty much every potentially scary scene in the entire movie. It may be because all the scary scenes were shown in the trailers, but I did not find this film scary at all. I kept bracing myself for something to happen that scared me, but when the scares came they definitely did not have the intended effect.

Another major issue I had was with the general storyline. Being a horror movie, most of the characters fit into the usual stereotypes. There was the obnoxious jock, the sweet sensitive guy, the cheerleader, and the theater geek. Obviously not much originality there, but most horror movies have many aspects that fit some archetype. The story did attempt to have some originality. There were actually a couple twists in the film that were fairly well thought out. That being said, there were also many holes.

Most of the holes in the story are related to the big reveal at the end of the film. I will not get too into it because I do my best not to have spoilers in my reviews. One of the major questions I had was why is all this happening now? In the film some of the characters mentioned that strange things have happened in the past that everyone assumed was the work of Charlie’s ghost, yet no one has ever been attacked or killed before this night. I have a vague question about the ending as well related to the twenty year gap between Charlie’s death and when they recreate the play. I won’t go any further than that to avoid spoiling the end (feel free to email me if you would like to discuss this aspect more). I also feel like there was supposed to be more to the ending, but it was so vague it’s hard to really know for sure.

One of the better aspects of this film was the acting. I thought all of the main characters did a really great job. What made the performances even more impressive is that for a majority of the main actors, this was their first starring role in a major film. Even with their flaws, the characters were all still enjoyable and you cared about whether or not they died. Something that did bother me a bit was ghost Charlie. When you see the real Charlie he seems rather skinny. Ghost Charlie just looks really beefed up, which they likely did to make him scarier. It is still something that bothered me a bit, as did the hangman’s mask. I believe they were trying to create the same effect as the masks from Halloween and Friday the 13th, but there was something very hokey about the hangman’s mask.

I was very disappointed with this movie. It really could have been a fun scary movie. The problem is that all the scary scenes were shown in the trailers, there were too many unanswered questions, and they made Charlie almost a bit humorous. Sadly, I would probably recommend waiting until this movie is on Netflix or something else rather than paying to see it in theaters. This is also not the movie for you if you want something that is very scary, but it could be appealing to the theater geeks because of all the lingo and the superstitions referenced (I was a theater geek so that was probably one of the best parts for me).

OVERALL RATING: 4.5/10

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