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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews The Gallows

July 18th, 2015 by Conor ONeill Comments

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The Gallows (18)
Running time: 81 min
Directed by: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Starring: Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown & Ryan Shoos

You’ll jump with this movie. I did, six or seven times; you’ll feel claustrophobic too, but least importantly, you will not learn anything new about the horror genre if you sit through this little lo-fi-Blair-Witch type number. With maybe the exception of the double narration to throw you off a little.

Set over two decades, two casts, yet one same grumbling menace, the screwed contorted script of this film is its playfulness with the genre. Yes, it’s teen-horror-time again: and as per par these teenagers are all gorgeous with the males all having 27-year-old sideburn shadow and square jaws, the 20-something females all perfectly botoxed and surgically enhanced back to 18. What you don’t expect is a little-budget-film to move from an interesting slow-paced hand-in-hand back story, to the little twisting beautiful animal it becomes.

The plot hangs on the thread that a foursome of students at an unknown US college try to thwart the 20th anniversary of a play called, yep you’ve guessed it, The Gallows. Two decades previous, an actor was hanged by accident during the play’s inaugural night. There’s something out there, like a peripheral vision fly, which keeps the infighting four stopping the play from performing lest history stomps its bloody stomp of a repeat.

What’s to stop the performance, how’s it not to go ahead? Espionage. If you’ve ever read Pratchett’s Masquerade or studied theatre, in both academic and viewer sense, you’ll love the intimacy of many of the shaky camera scenes; boards creeping; sand-bags on pulleys and the drop of the curtain, or in this case the man, you’ll enjoy this flyweight punching above his standing cute little film. If, however, you turn up waiting for a revolution of horror, move along, nothing new to see here.

It maybe spends too much of its time with the back-story at the beginning, but the frantic scalpel ending will make up for the former. Most have written off this movie before it opens. Many more will… and for good reasons to them. But for a low, nah, mini-budget flick with a very good idea of itself, it’s my fish-of-the-day. They may not be harping about this film in cinematography school many years from now, nor may it enter the thoughts of those that missed it on the big screen. But to those of who’ve watched it, this flick will always send a touch of the comedia and horror to our heads.

4 out of 5 Nerds
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Conor O'Neill is at times a playwright and a qualified journalist. He has worked for the Belfast Telegraph, Portadown Times and South Belfast Advertiser. He also contributes to various online e-zines, specialising in theatre, gig reviews and other cultural events. If you were to ask him what he does, he will say 'I'm functioning'... that's a lie. Best suited to pressure and deadlines, O'Neill thrives on the moment, the passion and the thrill of now, he's only happy when he's watching or reviewing a play.

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