FILM REVIEW — Scary movies with a puritan theme is a rare commodity at the box office. So it’s a surprise to see a relatively successful showing of this genre in North American theaters, raking in about $21 million in two weeks. In other territories, it garnered $9.4 million and raked in an impressive worldwide total of $30.8 million against a budget of $100,000.
Not bad for a small-budget film with a familiar horror template,based on a real-life tragedy.
Beatrice High School’s most infamous stage production was revived with budding thespian Pfeifer Ross, who plays the high school kid, Charile Grimmel. The film begins October 1993 at Beatrice High in Beatrice, Nebraska, with production of “The Gallows.” Grimille’s parents, delighted about their son’s performance, record the play. In the third act, Charlie’s character is set to be hanged at the gallows. Then tragedy strikes as the door beneath Charlie’s feet opens and he falls through with a noose around his neck. He died of strangulation in front of his co-stars and the audience.
Twenty years later, a student at the same school, arrogant football player Ryan Shoos tapes his good-natured friend (and the events of the film) Reese as he is in a production of “The Gallows” playing the same character Charlie played. Reese acts alongside his crush Pfeifer,
The Gallows ended with the death of Grimmell with leading man, Reese Houser. He plays a former football star who lacks acting talent but tried out for the play. He died in a deadly freak accident at a high school play in Nebraska.
The film is a mash up of The Blair Witch Project and Brian De Palma’s horror movie, Phantom of the Paradise.
Directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Louflin, The Gallows serves up a modicum of scare on the scare-o-meter: The scares consist of moving objects and sound effects with lots of bloody and fear-inducing scenes.
However, it’s a story best left in the past.
Movie Review by Fran Wilson