First off, The Gallows is a found footage movie. I know, I know. But don’t worry, it gets worse. The entire movie is filmed by one of the main characters, a guy named Reese (Reese Mishler). He’s a stereotypical jockey cool kid football player, along with his best friend Ryan (Ryan Shoos). Ryan has uncharacteristically decided to play the male lead in the school’s production of a play called The Gallows (Ooh! Title Drop!) because he has a crush on resident drama club star Pfeifer (Pfeifer Brown). The only problem is that Ryan is a terrible actor, so Reese gets the grand idea to get him out of the play by sneaking into the school at night and trashing the set, which the two of them do with Reese's girlfriend Cassidy (Cassidy Gifford). The only problem is, the school is haunted by the spirit of a boy named Charlie, who died in the school’s last production of The Gallows. And he wants the show to go on.
This movie is the literal personification of They Just Didn’t Care. I kept waiting for the talking heads from MST3K to pop onto the screen and say “We gotcha!” No one involved in the making of this movie gave a shit about it; not the writers, not the actors, not the editors, and certainly not the directors (apparently one person’s apathy wasn’t enough to make this). The plot is utterly preposterous and has so many holes that they aren’t worth counting (Why is a school putting on a play in which a kid died? Why does the school have an entire abandoned wing? Why don’t you call for help on your cellphones which clearly work through the entire movie?). The movie is not only found footage, but seems to have actually been entirely filmed by the actor whose character holds the camera for the whole excruciating 80 minutes. The actor/character’s skills in filming are absolutely atrocious, by the way: everything is either an extreme facial close-up, a wide shot for the inevitable jump scare, or a shot of the floor and people’s feet. And the characters were so forgettable that, when I wrote this review an hour after I saw the movie, I forgot their names and used the placeholder names (in order): Douchebag, Too Good for this Sinful Earth, Last Minute Plot Device, and Perky Tits. This is an exaggeration of how two-dimensional and undeveloped all of these characters are. But it’s only a very, very slight exaggeration. And the scares -of course- are all predictable, cheap jump scares. And let’s not even mention that viral marketing campaign…
Like I said up above, this movie is right on the borderline between being so bad it’s good and just plain bad. I think the number of times I groaned and mentally kicked myself for permanently wasting 80 minutes of my life was approximately equal to the number of times I just had to laugh at the movie because it’s just so utterly stupid and preposterous. I also squeezed a fair amount of enjoyment out of the audience’s heckling, which wasn’t even all from the critics (though we certainly shouted our fair share). In the end I suppose it will be left up for the audience to decide, but honestly I’m not sure it’s even worth that much of your time.