Theatrical release poster
|Music by||Zach Lemmon|
|Edited by||Chris Lofing|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$43 million|
The Gallows is a 2015 American found footage horror film written and directed by Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff. The film stars Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos and Cassidy Gifford. The film was released by Warner Bros. on July 10, 2015, and received negative reviews from critics and grossed $43 million worldwide.
On October 29, 1993, Beatrice High School student Charlie Grimille is accidentally hanged and killed after a prop malfunction during a presentation of the play "The Gallows." His parents, along with the whole audience, witness the tragic event.
Twenty years later, on October 28, 2013, the school attempts to put on a new performance of "The Gallows." Reese Houser is excited, as this gives him a chance to grow closer to his crush Pfeifer Ross. His friend Ryan Shoos is dismissive of the play, and comes up with the idea to vandalize the set. Reese is reluctant to take part, but agrees when Ryan promises that he'll be able to console Pfeifer afterwards, giving them a chance to kiss.
Later that night, Reese, Ryan, and Ryan's girlfriend Cassidy Spilker sneak into the school, only to run into Pfeiffer, who saw Reese's car. Knowing they cannot vandalize the sets with Pfeiffer there, the group tries to leave, but finds that they have been locked inside, and there is no cell phone reception. Disturbed, Cassidy admits the trio's real reason for being in the school, which angers Pfeifer.
As the group tries to look for a way out of the school, they find news coverage of Charlie's death that includes an interview with his girlfriend Alexis. They also discover that Charlie was not supposed to have performed that day, and was only on stage because he was the understudy for the main actor, Reese's father Rick.
The group becomes separated when Reese runs off with the camera, with Ryan being left alone. As he searches for Reese, he sees various things, such as a half finished plate of food, a cup of coffee, a hidden room with a mattress and bed frame, and what looks like a body hanging from above. When the group is reunited, they hear footsteps above them that stop above Cassidy. She is then yanked into the air by seemingly nothing, leaving her with burns on her neck that look like rope burns.
They all come back to the stage, where Pfeifer points out an air conditioning duct that they can escape through. Angry and frightened, Ryan calls for Charlie, terrifying the group. When he climbs up a ladder to reach the vent, he is thrown off by an unseen force, and his leg is badly broken. When Reese, Pfeifer, and Cassidy leave Ryan, the door is slammed shut, and they are locked out of the stage where Ryan lays helpless. The group eventually get on stage, finding only Ryan's phone. The audience then sees footage from the phone.
Ryan sees the door slam, then a figure holding a noose. The figure disappears before he is pulled away by the neck by a fly rig. As the night progresses Cassidy is killed by Charlie Grimille dressed as the Hangman, a character from "The Gallows." Reese and Pfeifer unsuccessfully try to escape the spirit and end up on the stage, where the spirit begins to choke her. Realizing that the spirit is Charlie and that he wants them to act out the final scene (in which Reese and Charlie's characters are hanged), Reese and Pfeifer reenact the scene. However, when Reese puts the noose around his neck for the final portion, he is hanged and killed by Charlie. Once he is dead, Pfeifer and Charlie, now appearing as an adult, both bow, and Alexis, who was watching the performance, gives a standing ovation.
The police enter a house where Pfeifer and Alexis are residing and watching footage of Charlie's death, indicating that Pfeifer is the daughter of Charlie and Alexis. When one of the officers attempts to question Pfeifer and Alexis about Charlie, Pfeifer warns him, saying, "You shouldn't say that name." The officer then calls for his partner, who witnesses him being dragged by a noose, killing him. Upon turning around, Charlie appears, then attacks and kills the policeman, as the screen cuts to black.
- Reese Mishler as Reese Houser
- Pfeifer Brown as Pfeifer Ross
- Ryan Shoos as Ryan Shoos
- Cassidy Gifford as Cassidy Spilker
- Price T. Morgan as Price
- Jesse Cross as Charlie Grimille (1993)
- Melissa Bratton as Alexis Ross (2013)
- Alexis Schneider as Alexis Ross / Mary (1993)
- Theo Burkhardt as Rick Houser (2013)
- John Tanskly as Rick Houser (1993)
- Emily Jones as Ryan's mother
- Travis Cluff as Mr. Schwendiman
- Mackie Burt as Cheerleader
On June 24, 2014, New Line Cinema acquired distribution rights to the film. On December 10, 2014, it was announced the film would be released on July 10, 2015, in the United States. Though the film is set in Lofing's hometown of Beatrice, Nebraska, all of the scenes in the theatrical version of the film were shot in Fresno, California. Several scenes in the first cut of the film were shot in Beatrice, but those scenes were dropped when Blumhouse Productions picked up the film. Those scenes were featured in the DVD and Blu-ray releases of The Gallows. The actors performed their own stunts, and no major CGI was used in the film, Lofing said.
The Gallows grossed $22.7 million in North America and $20.2 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $43 million, against a budget of $2 million.
The Gallows opened on July 10, 2015, simultaneously with animated film Minions and the sci-fi drama Self/less. The film grossed $900,000 during its Thursday night showings, and $4.5 million on its opening day. The film opened at number five at the box office in its opening weekend, with $9.8 million.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 16% based on 102 reviews, with an average rating of 3.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Narratively contrived and visually a mess, The Gallows sends viewers on a shaky tumble to the bottom of the found-footage horror barrel." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 30 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale.
Geoff Berkshire of Variety gave the film a negative review, saying "The Gallows isn't without a certain amount of atmosphere, it simply feels borrowed wholesale. That would matter less with a better script, but the four main characters are paper-thin even by genre norms." Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film one out of four stars, saying "The plot is a collection of contrivances (Oh no, the lights all went out! My cell phone won't work! I'm running for my life, I'd better keep filming!) and the scares are simple, sudden, stupid shocks." Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C, saying "This is another found-footage movie that, with a little art direction and some actual cinematography, could easily have been a decent little terrorizer. Instead, it comes mostly unglued thanks to its hacky gimmick." Bruce Demara of the Toronto Star gave the film two out of four stars, saying "Despite its initial promise and some decent scares - you're in for a sharp and sudden drop in satisfaction in the final throes." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film two out of four stars, saying "The filmmakers needed to set themselves free even more than the characters, but they never find the path out. They probably never realized they were trapped."
Simon Abrams of The Village Voice gave the film a negative review, saying "The Gallows is only good enough to make you wish its creators did something novel with its formulaic style, plot, and characterizations." Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times said, "The Gallows starts with a decent if improbable premise, and it ends with a pretty good jolt. But in between, the film sure wears out the already tired found-footage device." Tirdad Derakhshani of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film a negative review, saying "The Gallows is one lazy film. There's no real effort or inventiveness here, whether we're talking about the character names, the jokes, the set pieces, or the predictable plot twist." Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three out of four stars, saying "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." Barry Hertz of The Globe and Mail gave the film one out of four stars, saying "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." A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club gave the film a D+, saying "Making audiences care about the characters is always a more effective fear-generating strategy than just knocking off a bunch of dimwits in the dark."
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