The Gallows is a horror film that appears to be made exclusively for either a twelve-year-olds’ sleepover party or an eighteen-year-olds’ drinking game, in both cases the point being who can go the longest without squealing. From the makers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious, The Gallows follows the antics of four high-school children as they prowl around the school after dark on the eve of their school play – all fun and games, except that they’re not the only ones who are roaming the school after dark. 20 years earlier, the school put on its first production of the play, resulting in the death of the male lead. On this absurdly honoured anniversary, it seems he will have his revenge.
This is very much a paint-by-numbers horror film. Tropes are rearranged and stitched together to create a new version of all those other hilariously electrifying scary movies you saw when you were three. It’s all shot from the point of view of a handheld camera, to give it that homemade, intrusive intimacy, and the rest is all down to sustained silences, heavy breathing, and sudden loud noises. Oh, and don’t forget the healthy motif of a masked face.
In all seriousness, this is a silly film that can actually be a lot of fun. There are plenty of giggles and thrills to keep a party of heady friends entertained, not to mention the rather hilarious facial expressions of lead actor, Reese Mishler. Although, granted, there’s only so much you can do in such a familiar environment. Without the party game element, this film is simply a long and uneventful train journey, where you know the destination and anticipate certain stops along the way – a tedious journey, which you know you must suffer in order to be let out at the other end.
The Gallows is released nationwide on 17th July 2015.
Watch the trailer for The Gallows here: