THE GALLOWS (2015)
On October 29th, 1993, during a high school play called The Gallows, student Charlie Grimille (Jesse Cross) was actually hung to death due to a prop malfunction. Twenty years later the play is being performed again at the same high school and when a group of students break into the school theater to vandalize the production, they are trapped and stalked by what appears to be Charlie’s vengeful spirit.
Written and directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, this is a lame and boring found footage flick that exemplifies all of the sub-genre’s flaws. It’s tedious, predictable and except for a few effective jump scares, there is nary a chill or thrill to be had. We can see plot twists coming miles away and even if we didn’t, they are as cliché as it gets. It’s also one of the worst cases of ‘why are you still filming’ that comes to mind and arrives at an outright silly conclusion. Even at a scant 80 minutes, this flick is a waste of time. Stars Reese Mishler, Cassidy Gifford, Pfiefer Brown and Ryan Shoos as our ill-fated teens.
LAST SHIFT (2014)
Shades of Assault On Precinct 13, rookie Officer Jessica Loren (Juliana Harkavy) is sent on her first assignment to watch over the last shift at the closing Sanford police station. What starts out as a lonely and boring first duty, becomes a nightmare for the rookie cop as the station is haunted by the spirits of a trio of Manson family-like murderers, who committed suicide at the station. As her father was killed in the line of duty during their apprehension and it is the one year anniversary of the death of the demonic Paymon family members, Officer Loren is in for an especially rough night.
Directed by Anthony DiBlasi (Dread and Cassadaga) and co-written by he and Scott Poiley, this is a creepy and very effective little horror, as DiBlasi takes our pretty rookie officer on a roller coaster ride to hell. There are not only some legitimate chills and suspense, but some gruesome visuals as well. Actress Harkavy gives a very good performance as a strong woman who is slowly being broken down by something that is pure evil. Not perfect, but a solid little horror with some nice scares, abundant gore and a good performance by it’s leading lady (much like Kelen Coleman in DiBlasi’s Cassadaga ) to tie it all together. Based on this and his previous flicks, I definitely think DiBlasi is a talent to keep an eye on!