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The Gallows | 2015 | R | - 3.7.5

At Beatrice High School in Nebraska, two teen boys (Reese Mishler and Ryan Shoos) and two teen girls (Pfeifer Brown and Cassidy Gifford) are trapped in their school at night and terrorized by a disembodied spirit. Twenty years ago, a male student died in a freak accident in the annual high school play, and current students want to re-stage the production in his honor, but the spirit is not happy. Also with Price Morgan and Travis Cluff. Directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing. [1:21]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A locker room scene shows two teen boys, shirtless and wearing tight biker shorts that reveal slight groin bulges (we see bare chests, shoulders, arms and legs). At home a thin boy wears a "hoody" and tight undershorts when his mother begins to enter his room, but he shouts and runs into a closet to put on jeans (we see most of his thighs and lower legs). Two teen girls wear deep scoop neck and square neck tops that reveal moderate to significant cleavage; one top bares a teen girl's shoulders and arms, also showing her bra straps. Teen girls wear tight jeans and in another scene, and they wear nearly legless short-shorts that reveal all of their bare thighs and legs. Cheerleaders in high school wear tank tops and tight clingy shorts that reveal significant cleavage, most of their bare legs, bare shoulders and arms as well as some of their bra straps. A props room contains two armless torsos that could be either male or female, without much detail showing on them.
 In a play, a teen boy and a teen girl hold hands briefly three times and kiss briefly twice. On a stage, a teen boy and a teen girl hold hands, they kiss for several seconds, as she cries loudly, saying goodbye.
 A teen boy sits behind a girl who is leaning back into his chest and legs and he makes grimacing, tongue wiggling faces to the camera, physically joking that he is having sex (he thrusts his hips a few times and then laughs).
 A teen boy stares at three teen girls wearing long costume dresses at high school and his male friend asks, "Have you [sexual reference deleted] her?" He shouts, "No!" A boy teases a male friend many times about a teen girl, until the second boy becomes angry and shouts.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - A home movie of a high school play set in Early America is shown as a woman says that she is frightened; a man announces that another man is to hang for adultery when we hear a loud bang and see the other actor actually fall and hang, his neck snapping in a noose on a gallows and his legs hanging through the trap door; people in the audience rush the stage, screaming and the camera turns off. We see the footage of a play rerunning on an old TV and the play is "The Gallows," where a stage malfunction causes a teen boy to hang to death (we again see his neck break as the noose tightens and snaps, leaving his feet dangling in the air).
 A teen girl looks increasingly gaunt, haggard, sweaty and distressed during a night trapped in a high school; tortured by a spirit, she bounces off walls in the dark as she stumbles until unseen hands choke her hard and she nearly dies (she squats in a heap and shows a rope-burned neck) and she later cries loudly and then approaches the camera to show a severely gouged, rope burned or stranglehold-marked neck with some blood oozing; a noose appears around her neck and an extremely violent force drags her away by the neck, screaming as we see her pulled away from the camera and down a flight of concrete steps on her shoulders and buttocks. The ghost of a hangman chases a teen boy and a teen girl up ladders and across dark catwalks above a stage; darkness and moaning sounds scare them and they scream when they see a male teen's head and shoulders as he hangs from a rafter dead (his eyelids are purple and his lips blue); beside the boy hangs a teen girl (we see only her lower legs and feet dangling and one of her shoes is missing). A spotlight snaps on and a teen boy and a teen girl recite lines from a play followed by loud applause from a single person in the audience sounds and a small light illuminates the hands of a man in a black shroud as a second spotlight falls on a gallows where the boy climbs the steps, and places the noose around his neck; the boy and the girl argue for several seconds and become silent when the trap door opens and the boy is hanged. Two police officers enter a home and one officer has his gun drawn as they find a woman and her teen daughter watching a video of a high school play; a black leafless tree is painted on one wall and a mirror holds many taped pictures of a noose, a photo of the cast of the play, a female doll hanging in a small noose, and old handbills; looking into the hallway, we see a policeman finding a noose around his neck and it pulls him to the ceiling, where he chokes, and the door to the hallway closes; a hangman's canvas-masked face charges the camera and breaks it, ending the scene.
 A teen boy lies on a stage floor after falling from a very tall ladder and breaking one knee inside out, whimpering, crying and screaming. A noose appears over his head and an unseen force rushes him up the cable from which he fell the day before and into the catwalks in the darkness; from stage level, we hear him gasp, choke and whimper. A teen boy and a teen girl out an open door, but the girl goes back, crying and when the boy re-enters the school he finds the girl choking on stage.
 The night before the re-staging of a seemingly cursed play, four students break into their school where the spirit of the boy killed in the original production locks them in and terrorizes them while wearing the black and white clothing and the canvas mask of a hangman; many creaking noises are heard and doors slam loudly on their own; a locker door opens and slams itself shut and the only light is greenish, from cell phones, a handheld movie camera that shakes a lot and other light is red from glowing exit signs (the screen goes black twice); the teens tremble from time to time and we hear moaning, gurgling and gibberish in a dark lower hallway as a teen boy opens a door and finds a TV monitor turned on and playing static. Several times, the ghost of an actor-hangman wearing a canvas hood-type mask appears, holding a noose and once, it materializes beside a crying teen girl and then disappears.
 Teenage boys and girls scream, shout, argue and cry in several scenes as they find themselves locked in a high school and unable to escape or to call for help, because phones are dead; they pull a fire alarm and a high-pitched alarm sounds as a red light flashes, but the fire department never arrives. A teen girl breaks two glass bottles (could be wine bottles) on a stage and leaves the shattered glass there. A teen girl and a teen boy tear up scenery, knock down fake plants and pull down a noose from a gallows, but the noose appears back in place later. We hear a loud bang off-screen and several teens run for cover in the darkness; they later find another teen girl and argue with her.
 A teen boy throws a football into the face of another boy who is not on the team, knocking him down; the second boy later tricks the first boy to pull on a cable behind stage in the school auditorium and the first boy falls onto the floor, rising angrily but unhurt before he shouts and charges the other boy, but a teacher breaks up the argument. Two teen boys argue loudly and curse in four or five scenes. Either of two teen girls argues with one of the boys loudly several times and both girls cry during arguments. Four teens shout, scream, cry, and run through dark hallways and lower basement tunnels. A teen boy argues with his father about dropping football for drama. A teacher reprimands disrespectful teen boys for harassing a stage crew. A teen boy pops up in front of a camera with his hoody's hood cinched to cover his face and shouts Boo!
 A phone in a locked gym locker rings and a teen boy breaks off the lock with a trophy, answers the phone and hears the sound of an accident during a play that killed another teen boy; the boy on the phone shouts, smashing the phone against a wall as a teen girl stands next to him and cries. A teen boy finds a photo of his father in a play 20 years ago; the boy says that his dad called in sick for a performance and the boy who took his place died on stage.
 In the lower basements and tunnels of a high school, four teenagers hear banging, think they see a man that we do not see and hear footsteps stomping on the floor above them. Dark high school hallways feature rusted metal doors, aging paint and moldings and debris.
 A teen girl slips and falls on steps, unhurt and laughing.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 1 F-word, 8 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 17 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, dumb, stage boy, big shot, creepy, geeky, toy, joke, nerds, squirt, drama queen, Shakespeare), exclamations (shut-up), 1 religious profanity (GD), 21 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Holy [scatological term deleted], God, Please Lord, Jesus).


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SUBSTANCE USE - None.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Accidents, murder, anger, revenge, justice, determination, courage, cowardice, triviality, family secrets, sacrifice, relationships, friendship, love, respect, responsibility.

MESSAGE - Families can wait years to extract revenge for crimes against deceased relatives.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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