the gallows | travis cluff | chris lofing | reese mishler | pfeifer brown | ryan shoos | handicam | ghost | hand-held camera | thriller | united states
Film: The Gallows
Director: Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing
Writer: Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing
Starring: Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown and Ryan Shoos
This film begins showing us a play that is entitled The Gallows and the tragedy that occurred during it while being shown in 1993. The lead in the play called in sick the day of the production so his understudy took over. He did a great job, but when he put the noose on, something happened and he was hung in front of the audience.
We then shift to 2013 and we learn that the footage we are watching belongs to the Nebraska Police Department. The camera is being operated by Ryan Shoos. He is filming the practice of the same play from 20 years ago. The lead this time is Reese Mishler and he’s struggling. We hear Shoos make a comment that he has not kissed a girl and he is supposed to kiss the female lead in the play, played by Pfeifer Brown. Directing the play is Travis Cluff. Also working on the play is Shoos’ girlfriend who is also a cheerleader, played by Cassidy Gifford.
Shoos and Mishler are friends. Both did play football, but Mishler quit. Shoos and Gifford are required to work on the play, but Mishler seems to want to. Shoos bullies the stage hands, especially the main one who is played by Price T. Morgan.
Shoos comes up with a plan so they do not have to do the play. His plan is to sabotage the set that night after he finds one of the side doors does not secure itself. Mishler is at first against it, but relents when we learn that he has a crush on Brown. Mishler knows that if the play happens, he is not going to do well and ruin the play she has been looking forward to do. Gifford convinces Shoos she is going to come as well.
That night, they meet at Mishler’s house. The father is played by Theo Burkhardt and he is adamant about his son not being in the play. Mishler won’t listen and they go off into the night. At the school that start to destroy things. The school is quite scary though even before anything happens. They have very little light, mostly from the camera that Shoos has.
Shoos goes to mess with Morgan’s things and while he is, we see a locker open and close by itself. Their night is cut short when Brown shows up. Mishler convinces her that they were there to practice nothing else. The problem is that when they go to leave, the door that doesn’t secure is locked and they’re trapped. Gifford reveals the real reason they are there, which angers Brown. They start to look through the school and other weird things start to happen. None of the phone works, they cannot get service on their cell-phone and they start to hear footsteps as well as see things. Gifford even gets pulled up to the ceiling by her neck. Upon looking after they get her down, she has rope burns.
Is the school and the play haunted or it is something else? There is much bigger plot behind the 1993 version and this one, will they figure it out before it is too late? Can they find a way of the school before this spirit takes them?
I will admit that I went to see this film due the hype from the trailer and the commercials I saw. This film is filmed with hand-held cameras, which can be hit or miss. I actually don’t mind this film being filmed that way and I also feel that it adds another element of fear, because at times things can be hard to see and you never know what will happen. It does put the viewer closer to being there. There were quite a few parts that made my heart skip a beat; I felt the dark and scary school helped to set the scene which made it scarier. I felt the story was a little basic, but the twist was pretty good. I caught on right before they revealed it, but still added something for me. We also don’t see a lot of the ghost, which I think was a good thing to do.
I did have some issues with this film though. I felt the acting was a little amateurish, which makes sense because none of these people have really done much. That can also add more realism as it is being filmed by someone that is experiencing it. I also felt it took a little bit too long to get started. You don’t want to have it start too earlier or too late, but by my count; we were close to the climax when the ghost really starts to wreck havoc. I also think it is odd that if this footage is in police custody, how do they explain the ghost that we see?
With that said, I would recommend giving this one a viewing. If you can’t handle films that are filmed by handicam, then avoid this one. If you don’t like films similar to Paranormal Activity, I would again avoid this one. I felt the acting was a little bit amateur, but being filmed the way it was, that seems to add to the experience. It has a great setting and some jumpy parts. Not the best film in the genre, but definitely I would say if you can get past the issues that have been laid out, it is worth a viewing.
My Rating: 6 out of 10