THE GALLOWS – Review by Susan Granger

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Kathie Lee Gifford’s daughter Cassidy is a new scream-queen in this paranormal “found footage” thriller. Growing up as the daughter of the “Today” show co-host and NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gifford, Cassidy enjoyed many privileges, including a having her foot-in-the-show business door. After an inauspicious debut in “God’s Not Dead” (2014), she landed a plum role in this horror thriller. First-time filmmakers Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing obviously recognized a good publicity hook when it was dangled in front of them, particularly since their incoherent script doesn’t contain a shred of suspense or originality. Read more…

On October 29, 1993, a Beatrice, Nebraska, high-school thespian, Charlie Grimille, literally, died on-stage in a freak prop-malfunction during a production of a play called “The Gallows.” Despite school board objections, 20 years later, the drama department decides to mount this jinxed play once again.

But then a vengeful spirit arrives on the scene. The night before the scheduled opening, three students sneak into the auditorium to destroy the set. Suddenly, they’re trapped in the locked building where phone lines are down, and they’re joined by the leading lady.

Supernatural forces seem to be at work in the form of a killer with a hangman’s noose.

Curiously, the stereotypical characters have been given the same first names as the actors who play them. Reese Mishler is the leading man/football star who has a crush on the wannabe actress, Pfeifer Brown. Cassidy Gifford is Pfeifer’s snobbish cheerleader pal, and Ryan Shoos is the annoying videographer.

Jason Blum, producer of “Paranormal Activity” and “Insidious,” picked up this derivative, low-budget flick with its shaky, grainy camerawork, irritating audio and C-list cast. With the exception of the Oscar-winning “Whiplash,” Blum has become a 21st century Roger Corman, churning out cheap Blumhouse chillers that click at the box-office.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Gallows” is an ominous, yet totally predictable 2 – in the “Blair Witch”-style horror sub-genre.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.