The Gallows Act II is a Blumhouse Horror film and a sequel to the 2015 film The Gallows. The plot follows Charlie the hangman as he goes after new targets, who have been silly enough to read from his cursed screenplay. The story of this series is that of a teenager called Charlie, who died during a production of The Gallows many years ago, and now has come back as an angry spirit, corrupting people who read the stage play that killed him and demanding a willing sacrifice.
Like many Blumhouse films’ this follows the usual formula, a group of generic and self-absorbed teens, are hunted down one by one and killed by an angry spirit or, demon. Though Act II follows this formula in some respects, it also manages to better it in many others.
To get one thing very clear before we begin the review in earnest, The 2015 Gallows film is utterly terrible; it is probably one of the worst Blumhouse horror films, so Act II didn’t have a high bar to reach to be better than it’s predecessor, but it is.
Where the first film had characters that were generic and deeply, deeply unlikable, characters that you wanted Charlie to catch. Act II has an incredibly likeable protagonist and, she is the best thing about the film. Ema Horvath’s Ana Rue is extremely likable; being almost impossible not to root for. There is something about Horvath’s performance which is just so positive and wholesome it makes it stand out. The fact that her character is a vlogger is central to the narrative, and though it could have been handled terribly, it is actually done well; even adding to the scares in some scenes. Yes the rest of the characters are as generic and one-note as you would expect, but the lead is definitely a step up from the first film
Whatsmore, Act II also benefits from exploring the mythology and the play itself deeper. It sets out the rules about what Charlie can and can’t do, which greatly improves the film; adding far more consistency. In terms of the scares, Act II takes more than a little inspiration from Sinister, which is a great film to take cues from, one, not two obviously. Meaning that this film does, unlike the first film actually, have some great moments and a superb sense of tension.
Act II surprised me, I was expecting trash and, instead got this interesting fresh take on the series, very much like with the Ouija franchise. This is a nice little morsel of horror goodness to tide you over until more meatier releases are upon us. The Gallows Act II is a colossal improvement over the first boasting a compelling and likeable lead and a great fleshed out mythology that makes you want to know more. Plus the end reveal nicely carries over elements from the first film in a very interesting and satisfying way.
Far, Far better than I was expecting it to be, is it a must-watch? No. But horror fans will find something to love about this surprising sequel.
Reviewed by Luke