I knew this film was gonna be bad, and wouldn't you know it, I was right on the money. The Gallows is a fantastic waste of 81 minutes, as it contains every found footage cliche in the book and wouldn't know a decent performance if one dropped out of the sky and landed on this bitter failure's horrendous cast. I don't know what I expected from a film that looks about as well-lit as a damp cave in a rainstorm, but I'd hoped for a film that was at least watchable. Instead, I got this.
When I watch a horror film, especially a found footage one, I look for a likable cast of characters. Found footage horror is almost entirely reliant on characters, so when the cast is out of whack, the film becomes out of whack. All four of this film's so-called "leads" are terrible and I am confident I will never see any of them again. Though the film's initial premise was highly intriguing, the lack of substance and incredibly poor lighting both do their best to drive the film into the ground. By the end, I was simultaneously relieved and disappointed.
I will give credit where it is due. I did like the final twist, but it didn't even come close to saving the film. Overall, I would consider The Gallows to be one of the worst films of the year and a huge step backward for the found footage genre. I know this genre has the capability to produce good films. I've seen these films. I know they exist. What I don't know is why they seem to have vanished in favor of films like this.
It appears the found footage sub-genre seems to be dying, as The Gallows represents everything wrong with the long done to death sub-genre. Not that there aren't still good found footage horror films, this is just not one of them. A generally intriguing premise mixed with the world's worst human beings for characters and horrendous lighting create one of the year's worst horror films. I tried to keep my hopes up, but the more I was calling the next predictable moment, the more my hopes died.
As with any film, especially horror, I expect decent and likable performances. Whereas the cast did a serviceable job, to their credit, the characters themselves are utterly unlikable. They inhabit every negative aspect of the obnoxious, jock teenager and are a chore to have to sit an entire movie through. The movie further goes for the gold by having the characters share the names of the respective actor. A lazy move on the screen writers, showing very little confidence in the material. The other major problem this film suffered from was the lack of any general, good lighting. On one hand, I understand the need to be realistic and use as little lighting as possible. But, on the other, I'm watching a movie about a vengeful ghost killing people, so I feel like we can stretch the possibilities a little here. Plus, it would just be nice to see what's going in the movie. This, coupled with random time jumps in the action and characters pointing the camera at the floor, made most of the film pretty unwatchable.
The Gallows was a terrible, sad excuse for a found footage horror film. It shows the absolute worst side to the found footage films and brings nothing new to the table. While I will admit the twist at the end was actually pretty good and led to a pretty fantastic ending, the rest of the film was a total slog. The Gallows really makes me hope that found footage is on the way out and a new horror trend starts. Or, better yet, come up with new, inventive ways to push found footage further. As it stands, The Gallows is doing that anytime soon, nor at all.