The Gallows (2015) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Gallows (2015)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Narratively contrived and visually a mess, The Gallows sends viewers on a shaky tumble to the bottom of the found-footage horror barrel.

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Movie Info

Twenty years after a deadly freak accident at a high school play, a misguided attempt to re-stage the play and honor the student proves that some things are better left in the past.

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Cast

Alexis Schneider
as Young Pfeifer's Mom/Mary
Price T. Morgan
as Stage Boy
Mackie Burt
as Cheerleader #1
Travis Cluff
as Mr. Schwendiman
Melissa Bratton
as Pfeifer's Mom
Théo Burkhardt
as Rick Houser
David Herrera
as David the Janitor
Adrian Salas
as Superstar Football Player
John Hales
as The King
Shannon Wetzel
as Ms. Shannon
Caeleb Trace
as Football Player #1
Theo Stratigos
as Football Player #2
Paris Cluff
as Officer Lang
Jason James
as Police Officer
Matt Benson
as Mr. BHS
Kelly Davis
as Brooke/Kelly
Trina Short
as Parents of the Nerds
Shirley Hales
as Parents of the Nerds
Rebecca Dowty
as Parents of the Nerds
Karen Kidder
as Parents of the Nerds
Ed Nicolls
as Parents of the Nerds
Daniel Short
as Parents of the Nerds
Dave Kidder
as Parents of the Nerds
Corey Costelloe
as Football Coach
Derrik Carter
as Football Coach
Nathan Healy
as Soda Drinking Coach
Jesse Cross
as Charlie Grimille (1993 Cast)
John Tanksly
as Rick Houser
Steven Hrdlicka
as TV News Anchor
Jerris Ramirez
as Scroll Reader
Kelley Yeager
as Assistant Director
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News & Interviews for The Gallows

Critic Reviews for The Gallows

All Critics (102) | Top Critics (22)

The lazy way The Gallows bundles its tropes together suggests that its creators' ambitions went no higher than simply getting a horror film made.

Full Review… | January 21, 2016
The Atlantic
Top Critic

In a quick 80 minutes, we get the back story, we meet the four core characters (all of the young actors do fine work), get the wits scared out of us about a half-dozen times and wind up with a VERY creepy ending.

August 14, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

As the latest entry in the tired "found footage" horror subgenre, this on-the-cheap film has never met a cliché it didn't embrace like sweet death itself.

Full Review… | July 13, 2015
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A ridiculous fusion of "Paranormal Activity" and "Glee" that is so incredibly dumb that it is almost, but never quite, scary to behold.

Full Review… | July 10, 2015
RogerEbert.com
Top Critic

A cautionary note: If your horror film is about a high-school theater production and still, the acting's not the worst thing about it, something's gone awfully wrong.

Full Review… | July 10, 2015
Time Out
Top Critic

The Gallows has a cleverness that bobs, occasionally, above the surface of cesspool murk. You can't tell whether it's just flotsam or a corpse, but for most of the 80-minute run time it almost doesn't matter. It's at least something.

Full Review… | July 10, 2015
Grantland
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Gallows

½

A near exact replica of that Goosebumps episode "Phantom of the Auditorium" both in essential plot as well as video quality/acting calibre.

Gimly M.
Gimly M.

Super Reviewer

½

I think the found footage genre itself gets unfairly maligned for the, perceived, notion that it fosters laziness. Though, I will admit, that there are films that make it very easy to give in to those opinions. The Devil Inside, Devil's Due and Grave Encounters 2 are all examples of terrible usage of the genre. Both of those films are terrible, lazy and uninspired attempts to cash in a fairly successful concept. Though GE 2's worst enemy was its own cleverness. Those are the only two that come to mind because those are the worst, but I'm sure there's many more out there. But there's just as many examples of found footage fostering some really inspired and clever films. REC 1 and 2, for example, Troll Hunter, Chronicle, Paranormal Activity 1 and 2, Afflicted, Man Bites Dog and the first Grave Encounters. And, if we're being technical, we can also use the subgenre of the webcam footage based films like The Den and Unfriended, both good films. Again, I'm sure there's many more that I can't remember at the moment. There's also the middle of the road found footage films like Frankenstein's Army, that have some good ideas but somehow fall short of being good. So, honestly, to me, it's unfair to lump in an entire genre based on a couple of shitty movies. With that said, however, this movie is just no good. It's not quite as bad as the worst in the genre, but I do think that it's a fairly lazy horror movie, relying on everything that has already been established as a cliche in this genre, ever since Paranormal Activity made it popular. Yes, it started with the Blair Witch Project, but it really hit it big with PA. The idea behind the film, however, was actually a pretty good one. At least I thought. I just like the idea of these students, trying to re-stage a high school play 20 years after a student died acting in the same play in a freak accident is, to me, a solid idea. It's not great, but it feels a little more inspired than your typical found footage film. Plus the setting of a high school, at night, is one that, as far as I can tell, hasn't been used a lot. So I thought that this, honestly, could've made for a pretty decent, if not good, horror movie. As you can see by the rating, however, this is not the case with the movie. First things first, and this is really my biggest complaint, the guy behind the camera, for a lot of the film, is one of THE most unlikable characters I've seen in any horror movie in a long ass time. Imagine like every jock asshole stereotype that you've ever seen and that's this guy, but like to the 100th degree. The fact that the movie, for its first 20-30 minutes, has this guy acting like a massive asshole to everybody is a huge fucking mistake. He's the guy behind the camera and you're pretty much sick of him, and want him to die the most horrific death possible, after the first five minutes. And there's still a lot more to go before the horror actually kicks in. I don't know why the screenwriters thought it was a good idea to have the guy with the camera for like 75-80% of the film be such a massive asshole. I'm glad that this motherfucker is the first one to die. I don't give a shit, I'm spoiling it. But, honestly, for the most part, I thought that the horror itself wasn't actually that bad. It was below average and it borrows heavily from found footage cliches, but it was ok. Like there's some horror scenes that were pretty effective, nothing amazing, but it got the job done. However, I do think the reveal at the end made the film really fucking goofy to me. Not to mention all the fucking questions it brings up that won't be solved because the film ends on a jump scare like 10 seconds later. Essentially, the ghost is controlled, I think, by his girlfriend, who has grown up and now has a daughter, who was absolutely obsessed with Charlie, the kid that died at the beginning and she was out for revenge, or something, because Charlie, the understudy, was given the lead role after the lead called. I have no idea what they were trying to do honestly. I'd be totally fine if it was just the ghost of Charlie haunting the high school, like that's fine and acceptable in a horror movie. It happens all the time and it's to be expected. But when you bring in girlfriends that have become obsessed with and they, somehow, are able to control Charlie's vengeful ghost, that's where it gets super silly to me. This is where the film loses me. It's definitely not what I'd ever call good, but a lot of it was perfectly fine. Not worth watching or anything, but it had its moments. The ending pretty much undoes all of that by trying to force in a ridiculous twist. Again, I know I've said this a lot, but it was never a good film even without the twist, but a lot of it was better than the worst found footage films I can think of, that I already mentioned, so that helped a lot. But the ending is fairly terrible and it drags the movie down. I can't really recommend it, of course. The few highlights can't really overcome all of its many flaws.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

An interesting idea that gets hung up with little or no scares, The Gallows quickly makes moviegoers want to break their necks rather than sit through a boring attempt at shock theater. Especially at the outset, very little horror rises to the surface of this wannabe spooky tale, which - ironically - sets the flick on a trip to the critical hangman from the get-go. You can't present a ghost story and hold off on any hair-raising for two-thirds of the movie! If this time was spent developing characters or laying down integral plot points, that would be commendable. There would have to be characters with more heft than paper dolls and an actual plot for this to work, however. The Gallows falls under the horror heading, so the prime directive is to scare the bejesus out the audience and get to it quick. Even when the jump cuts and sound blasting start though, you feel like you're being hit with the oldest scare tricks in the book ... if the book is a Casper the Friendly Ghost coloring book. In this R-rated found-footage horror flick, students at a school resurrect a failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of an on-stage tragedy ... but soon discover that some things are better left alone. From cast to crew, the end result put forth by all involved is purely forgettable. Beating the found footage genre back into the grave of the Blair Witch, this flick represents a stab at capturing the success of Paranormal Activity minus any actual activity. In an age when It Follows makes horror seem absolutely fresh, this tired gimmick either needs to be put to bed for another decade or ratcheted up several notches. Bottom line: Spirit Weak

Jeff Boam
Jeff Boam

Super Reviewer

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