Warner Bros Home Entertainment
By Natalie Paterson
Sure, summoning spirits through a Ouija board sounds like a great way to spend a night in October, but I think I’ve got a better pastime for you and it doesn’t involve demon beckoning. The Gallows tells the story of high school students performing a play, enacted only once before at the school, 20 years prior. Old footage of the original cast shown in the beginning of the movie shows the unfortunate death of a student due to a freak accident with the props. The students in the present day are very aware of the tragedy associated with the play, even going so far as to say that the lead actor will “choke like Charlie,” the name of the deceased student.
When lead actor Reese Mishler, his friend Ryan Shoos and his girlfriend Cassidy Gifford decide to sneak into the school to break apart the set, they run into one of the play’s lead actresses, Pfeifer Brown. The four of them get trapped in the school, and well… you thought high school was scary during the day.
Honestly, there are a few solid jump scares over the course of the film, and the atmosphere is definitely there, but it’s not the most frightening film I’ve seen. However, I would absolutely recommend it though because the effects are so well done, you forget that it’s a cinema-style production.
There is one very special redeeming feature on the disc: the original story of The Gallows, shot guerilla-style back in 2012. This feature-length story is the one that caught the eye of the producers of the cinema film, and stars most of the same actors as the main film. I found it a lot more enticing, considering the actors all did their own stunts and there wasn’t nearly as many special effects added in. This didn’t hurt the main film, though at times it felt somewhat cliché with those effects.
The Gallows is available on DVD and Blu-Ray right now, so check it out if you want a few good scares! And I definitely recommend checking out both the original guerilla-style film and the cinema version…but maybe not looking around the corner and checking out that shadow you just saw.