The Gallows (2015) – Hangman Horror


The Gallows (2015) - Hangman Horror

I’m a big fan of Jason Blum and his horror movie brand Blumhouse Productions. Ever since they took a gamble on Paranormal Activity the production company seems to have gone from strength to strength.

They rapidly became the main superpower in the Found Footage genre and also chipped in with more traditional films like Sinister and Insidious

So when I heard about their latest Found Footage release, it was safe to say I was more than a little excited.

The Gallows is a sort of teenage hangman horror story that takes place in a American high school drama hall. Let’s take a closer look at it…


I find that a lot of Found Footage efforts shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to their endings. Even The Blair Witch Project finished on a pretty shitty note!

But The Gallows somehow switched things around a bit – I felt it actually depended on it’s ending to stand out and be memorable in some way.

To be honest, it was a decent enough build to it’s climax but that was about all it was – decent. Nothing seemed to be unique or even remotely frightening at times, it just sort of traveled in a straight line towards the final twist.

I expected more from a Blumhouse production.

The Plot

The film takes place in a town called Beatrice in Nebraska and follows the plight of a group of teenagers involved in a school drama production.

Back in 1993 this school drama society was involved in a horrible accident when one of it’s actors was killed on stage during a performance named The Gallows.

A young actor named Charlie falls through a temporary gallows prop and ends up hanging himself in front of the whole audience ( of course this is all captured on VHS video! ).

So, we shift forward a few years and theater queen Pfeifer ( Pfeifer Brown ) has managed to convince the head of the drama department to re-stage the hexed play.

A rather pathetic jock actor named Reese ( Reese Mishler ) decides to take on the lead role next to Pfeifer as he fancies getting a slice of her action. Only one problem though – his acting skills stink!

So the night before the first performance of the play, Reese and his two mates, Ryan ( Ryan Shoos ) and Ryan’s cheerleader girlfriend Cassidy ( Cassidy Gifford ), decide to break into the drama hall and trash the stage.

They figure that if the set is trashed the play will not go ahead and Reese will avoid a rather painful acting experience.

I could go on but just about ANY Found Footage freak out there will know where the story goes from this point…

Hangman Horror

I’ve got to be honest here – this was more than a little disappointing even though it was not that bad overall ( does that make sense? ).

There has been a huge marketing effort over here in the UK and I’ve come across many attractive and atmospheric trailers for the film.

But it seems to have ended up being one of those films that is made to look a LOT better by the trailers released – it roped me in good and proper!


This is not a poor Found Footage effort, it is just a poor effort for the expertise of Blumhouse Productions.

I did a little research on the film’s directors ( Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing ) and discovered that this was their debut feature length horror film. They have previously only been involved in horror shorts ( apparently! ).

I’m a little confused as to why Blumhouse Productions took a gamble on this pair – I’m not really sure it has paid off that well.

The acting was pretty decent but the plot was extremely thin really – sometimes this works in Found Footage, sometimes it doesn’t.

The main problem I had with the film is that it failed to scare me – it was atmospheric and menacing at times but it still lacked that ‘jump’ factor.

I sat and watched it and enjoyed many of the scenes, but I still felt as though I was watching a movie that wouldn’t frighten a thirteen year old.

Maybe it’s just me – maybe I really NEED to be shocked before I can fully enjoy a horror film? All I know is that the film felt ‘average’ in terms of horror, a little watered down maybe!

Not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, but not a great one either – I expected more…




  1. Completely agree with you Chris. The trailers had me incredibly excited for this one but I felt it failed to deliver good scares. I almost felt it was more like a drama at certain points! Like you I thought the acting was pretty good and I was excited by the hangman idea, but the scares definitely weren’t what I wanted from this movie.

    • Hi Jade,
      Well, glad you agree! It was a decent enough FF film but I expected a lot more from Blumhouse Productions – they have a great track record but they missed the mark slightly here 🙂

  2. Another great review! Gave this one a go last night and I thought it was ok. The plot is not all that, like you allready pointed out, but it had several good moments and I sort of got sucked in to the atmosphere of being locked inside a huge building at night. It had a slow, but satisfying, climb towards the climax for sure. And the clever use of camera angles (and FX ?) towards the end put this one just above the average FF flick in my book.

    Btw, have you heard anything about M. Night Shyamalan releasing a FF movie next month ? With his current track record I fear the worst 🙂

    • Just above average – I couldn’t have put that better myself John! Slightly disappointed with it’s overall level though, the trailers had me believing I was onto a classic!

  3. I just wanted to share with you Chris, how much I love your reviews and the importance that this site exists. Thank you and gr8 work!

  4. i just finished watching this tonight and i quite enjoyed it, a few bits made me jump and i really liked the ending, but what made it a good FF for me was the characters. i dont need to be shocked or scared in the first 10-15 or even 20 mins, but i HAVE to be interested in the characters for me to care about them and i felt this film did this. i enjoyed the banter between the main characters and the extras and was interested in what they were doing and why (plus it helps that there were no asshole/bully characters in the film). also the removal of any stupid “this footage was found at the crime scene blah blah blah” i really hate that lol. i love character driven FF movies and this was one of the better ones ive seen, not scary as such but enjoyable none the less. Yes i admit i was playing on my phone and doing my nails through the middle of the film but i soon got interested again towards the end. phew sry or the mini review
    ps i love this site and your reviews x

    • No problems Rachel,

      I love it when visitors to the site leave their own reviews on a film – helps the site evolve!
      After all my reviews are just opinions – not everyone is going to agree with them 🙂

  5. Hi Chris. I enjoyed this for what it was. Not great , but by no means the worst either. I found the characters less annoying than in a lot of FF movies, Cassidy was pretty hot, and I actually didn’t see the twist at the end coming. I gave it a 6/10. At least I didn’t feel like it was time wasted!

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