ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Catching Up: The Gallows (2015)

Updated on November 3, 2015

Directors: Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing
Ryan Shoos, Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Cassidy Griffin, Price T. Morgan, Melissa Bratton

The found footage thriller The Gallows begins with a title card stating that the footage we’re about to see is the “property of the Beatrice Police Department.” This made me smile. I couldn’t help but think about how this footage, belonging as it does to the Beatrice Police Department, found its way into the hands of Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema.

Beatrice Chief-of-Police: “It’s so sad what happened to these kids. Just so sad.”

Beatrice Deputy: “You want to sell the footage and make a few extra bucks?”

Beatrice Chief-of-Police: “Oh, hell yeah! You kidding? We need some pay raises around here.”

I know, I know. Most found footage movies do this. It’s fiction, we know it, and the filmmakers know we know it. It’s just part of the gimmick. The problem is now the gimmick is becoming more than a little bit tiresome. It worked for movies like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity because their movies had actors we had never seen before. The illusion that what we’re seeing was actual footage sort of worked. In The Gallows, we have Cassidy Gifford, daughter of Kathie Lee Gifford, who (according to IMDB) had been in a couple of movies and TV shows prior to this. It’s not the same.

The story here is just stupid. Back in October of 1993, a young student named Charlie Grimmell was accidentally hanged during the high school theater performance of a show called The Gallows. Twenty years later, the school is planning to do another performance of the play, on the exact anniversary of the tragedy, using many of the same costumes and similar set design. Yeah, that’s not in poor taste at all!

It says no admittance. Wanna go in anyway?
It says no admittance. Wanna go in anyway?

For a good forty minutes or so, we follow a truly revolting character named Ryan (Ryan Shoos), a football jock and overall jerk who’s forced to participate behind-the-scenes on the production of The Gallows. A lot of critics have complained about the character Ryan, calling him insufferable. He is, although to be fair, he is convincingly written. I went to school with kids who behaved exactly like this jerk. He’s a believable character, but that doesn’t mean that I could stand him.

Ryan’s best bud Reese (Reese Mishler) has recently quit the football team to star in the play, much to Ryan’s chagrin. He just can’t understand why Reese who quit something cool like football to do something so lame like acting. As it turns out, Reese has the hots for the theater nerd Pfeifer (Pfeifer Brown), and really wants to impress her with his performance (it doesn’t hurt that their characters kiss near the end of the play).

After discovering a broken stage door that doesn’t lock, Ryan concocts a plan to break into the theater at night and destroy the set, cancelling the show. Reese isn’t so sure at first, but after Ryan tells him to it straight (“You’re a terrible actor, dude!”), he goes along with the plan. Along with Ryan’s cheerleader girlfriend Cassidy (Cassidy Griffin), the three kids break into the school, run into Pfeifer, get locked inside, are harassed by an evil spirit with a noose, etc. You know the drill.

Directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing have said that they went with the found-footage approach because of budget restrictions. They should have waited until they could have afforded to film the movie conventionally. Found-footage movies are built around the idea of characters wanting to film things happening to them, no matter what. The kids in The Gallows are doing something illegal. There is no reason for them to keep filming themselves. I mean, what are they planning to do with the footage after their deed is done? Post it on Youtube?


To be fair, there are a couple of creepy shots in the film (like the night vision shot of a body hanging high above the ground), and the actors play their roles as well as they possibly can (even Gifford, even though I singled her out earlier in the review). The problem lies with the screenplay and the approach. The story is dumb, and the found-footage approach makes it seem even dumber.

I’m glad the Beatrice Police Department made a quick buck though. Given how stupid they come across in this movie, maybe they can afford to hire police officers with a modicum of competence.

Rated R for violent and disturbing images, mild profanity.

Final Grade: ** (out of ****)


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • priley84 profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga


    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting overview.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)