DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Chris Lofing, Travis Cluff
Ema Horvath, Chris Milligan, Brittany Falardeau
Writing Credits:
Chris Lofing, Travis Cluff

When Auna Rue transfers to a prestigious new acting school, she encounters a malevolent spirit after participating in a viral challenge.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 12/24/2019

• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing
• “Summoning the Hangman” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Gallows Act II [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 15, 2019)

Back in 2015, The Gallows brought a “found footage” horror tale that looked at the “cursed” production of a high school stage production. 2019’s The Gallows Act II broadens the original’s horizons.

After some teens discover The Gallows - the play that created the terror mentioned earlier – more deaths occur. Given the nature of modern society, this sets up an “online challenge”, whereby subjects need to read the play for their blogs.

High school student Auna Rue (Ema Horvath) sees this and performs it for her online video channel. Initially, this pays off in a positive way, as her popularity skyrockets, but inevitable negativity ensues.

Given that I didn’t much care for the first Gallows, I can’t claim I went into Act II with much enthusiasm. Actually, when I first heard about Act II, I didn’t even remember that I saw the original – over the four years between movies, it completely left my memory.

Since I didn’t think much of the prior flick, this might act as a blessing. I went into Act II with more of a “blank slate” than otherwise might occur, so that left me open to its potential charms with fewer preconceived notions.

Alas, Act II finds little room for creativity or scares, though I do appreciate its willingness to break from the prior film. While the blog side of the movie flirts with the “found footage” feel of the original, Act II sticks with more traditional storytelling methods the vast majority of the time.

That comes as a relief. The “found footage” conceit only sporadically succeeded over the decades, and by 2019, it seems tired and stale. This makes me happy Act II abandoned those methods.

In addition, I appreciate that Act II doesn’t just remake the original. While both share similar themes, the sequel takes on its own narrative and branches off in a way that allows it to stand alone.

And it’s a more effective journey than what we got in the original, but that stems more from the first flick’s massive flaws. Gallows came across as little more than a collection of poorly-shot scare scenes in search of a plot.

While Act II doesn’t rely heavily on narrative/character elements, it pursues these in a more natural and involving manner than its predecessor. Auna gives us a firm center to the tale and lets us follow the growing horror through her eyes.

If only actual scares resulted. Unfortunately, try as the filmmakers might, they can’t find any real thrills or terror here.

That becomes the biggest flaw in Act II, as a horror film without real horror doesn’t work. Parts of the movie feel as though they should inspire the creeps, but they just lack much conviction or impact.

A dead ringer for a young Hilary Swank, Horvath offers a perfectly competent performance as Auna, but she doesn’t get as much to do as she should. Basically the movie requires her to look more and more haunted as the tale progresses and that’s about it.

As modern horror movies go, I’ve seen worse than Act II, for it manages a passable level of competence. That doesn’t become real praise, though, as the film remains wholly mediocre.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B

The Gallows Act II appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a mostly positive presentation.

Overall delineation looked fine, as the movie usually seemed well-defined. Some wider shots could be a little soft, but not to a substantial degree. I saw no jaggies or shimmering, and both edge haloes and print flaws remained absent.

To the surprise of no one, teal and amber dominated the film’s palette. While predictable, the colors seemed well-executed.

Blacks showed good depth, and shadows were fine. Some low-light shots could be a smidgen thick, but not terribly so. All this led to a more than competent presentation.

Similar thoughts accompanied the fairly good DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Act II. This wasn’t exactly an action-packed mix, so one shouldn’t expect constant auditory shenanigans. When appropriate, the soundscape kicked to life well, but much of it focused on ambient information and music.

Audio quality worked fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

Music offered good range and impact, and effects followed suit. These elements contributed fine dimensionality, with strong low-end at appropriate times. All of this led to a worthwhile soundtrack.

We get a few extras here, and we open with an audio commentary from writers/directors Travis Cluff and Chris Loring. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, issues related to the sequel, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, deleted scenes, photography, effects and connected domains.

Cliff and Loring provide a brisk chat here. They cover the expected topics and do so in a compelling manner, so expect a pretty solid commentary.

Summoning the Hangman spans 35 minutes, 21 seconds and offers notes from Cluff, Loring, producer Benjamin Forkner, production designer Max Martinez, costume designer Trina Short, director of photography Kyle Gentz, composer Zach Lemmon, and actors Ema Horvath and Brittany Falardeau.

“Summoning” looks at the shift from “found footage” and story/characters, cast and performances, the directors’ impact, sets and locations, costumes, photography, stunts/effects, and music. Expect a pretty good production overview.

14 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 33 minutes, 44 seconds. These tend to emphasize character embellishments, but some attempted scares come along as well.

While I can’t claim any of the scenes turns into “lost gold”, a few tend to be more valuable than usual. For instance, we see more of the nerd Auna helps on her first day. Overall, this feels like a good collection of sequences.

The disc opens with ads for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. No trailer for Act II appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Act II. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Although it offers a definite improvement over the prior film, The Gallows Act II never manages to rise above a certain level of mediocrity. Some parts of the movie show potential but the tale remains too slow and scare-free to really succeed. The Blu-ray comes with generally positive picture and audio as well as a fairly solid collection of bonus materials. Act II ends up as a watchable horror tale but nothing memorable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main