I thought the advertising for this film was pretty good – the trailer that was played at the cinema just showed one small scene from the film so really we had no idea what it was about. A longer trailer was released on the internet showing more of the storyline – after a horrific accident in 1993 where a boy named Charlie accidentally gets hanged during a school play ‘The Gallows’ the same school decided to put on the play twenty years later in a misguided attempt to honour the anniversary. I thought the original trailer looked really scary and not knowing what the film was about intrigued me. After watching the more recent trailer I was really starting to look forward to this film.
Overall I think the film was pretty scary. It’s filmed in a found-footage style which I really enjoy and I feel like the jump-scares were pretty effective. So effective that my friend nearly choked on her popcorn which was pretty funny. The use of lighting was good so you could only just see what you were focusing on and you could emphasise with what the characters must be going through.
What I liked about this film is that you know how in found-footage movies you have the one camera and the main character carries it around? You hear something happening to their friend in another room and they run in and bam they’re gone and it’s a big mystery as to what’s happened to them. ‘The Gallows’ didn’t do that – they used both the camera and a mobile phone so we’d see what was happening with the characters in one room and then we’d find out what happened to their friend afterwards while they were gone. These scares worked really well and you didn’t have to ‘guess’ or ‘assume’ what happened.
The characters themselves were admittedly a little annoying, especially Ryan who starts filming everything in the first place. He’s giving his best friend Reese shit for being in the ‘do-over’ of ‘The Gallows’, specifically for playing the part that had been originally played by Charlie. When Reese admits that he doesn’t particularly want to do the play, Reese, Ryan and his girlfriend Cassidy break into the school at night to vandalise the set so that the play doesn’t happen. Ryan was extremely arrogant and cocky but he did have some funny moments. Reese and Cassidy were only slightly more likeable.
I definitely watched this film and kept thinking “yeah it’s good” until the ending which I’m still not sure about. I feel like the idea for the ending is good but they didn’t quite pull it off. After watching I thought there were a couple of plot holes but after going through a few iMDB forums I’ve realised just how many plot holes there were. Obviously most films have plot holes but some of them were really unexplainable. For example, why on earth did the school allow a fully-functioning gallows to be used as a prop? Surely they would’ve made a replica that didn’t work or something? They wouldn’t make a kid put a noose around his neck and stand on a gallows that actually works right? Well.
Overall, I would recommend this movie because I did think it was scary and entertaining. However, there are several things I didn’t like about the overall storyline. I don’t think this takes away from the scary atmosphere though.