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BELATED HORROR REVIEW OF THE GALLOWS

2015 rating: **1/2
If there's one thing more annoying than the handheld chronicling everything on a video camera horror it's whoever is behind the lens, gabbing away. Then again they have to be obnoxious, determined and stubborn enough to keep the thing rolling no matter what happens: a sort of rambling/recording Black Box while catastrophe awaits, and ensues...

Yet somehow in THE GALLOWS, the guy filming his handsome high school buddy, smitten with the drama queen and rehearsing for the titular play that, twenty years earlier, resulted in a student/cast member being accidentally hung on stage... In this particular case the obnoxious cameraman doesn't mean as much as he wants to; thus the perpetual shakiness isn't altogether distracting from those being centered on. In fact, GALLOWS is almost completely character-driven as some unlucky teens venture backstage before the cursed play to, for some unexplained and rather banal reason, wreak havoc on the set so the show won't go on. Here's where the mysterious wraith begins stalking, and yet we see very little until after the third act.

There are enough effective sudden jolts for the price of a ticket, and the leading couple have an intriguing opposites-attract chemistry that might have benefited a more conventional horror flick. And although a barrage of potentially befitting victims are introduced... including freaks, geeks and bullying jocks... and then abandoned, the four on board keep the dizzying nightmare to a somewhat maintainable level, making this handheld teenage body count slightly better (and a tad more creative) than most of its kind.
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