The Gallows Trailer: Smells Like Teen Death

Last month, Warner Bros. released a teaser for The Gallows, the latest found-footage horror flick from producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), and it did a great job of piquing my interest. That first spot, which you can watch down below, consists of just one intense moment. It seemed like a great way of marketing a movie that’s of a style that a lot of us are getting tired of. Then they went and made the full trailer featured above, and unfortunately it looks like more of the same.

At least it has the initially creepy and emotive cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Think Up Anger with Malia J. That’s a good song to use, no matter whose rendition (I’m surprised a movie trailer didn’t go with a kids’ choir cover this time around), not just because it’s catchy but because its use offers a clever double-meaning for the word “spirit.” However, it’s also somewhat distracting, or maybe it’s just that none of the visuals in this trailer are as interesting as the soundtrack.

The plot of The Gallows reminds me of Prom Night. And I guess a lot of other slasher movies involving revenge for an accident that happened long ago. Of course, this is a ghost story, not a slasher story. As far as I can tell, anyway. You’ve got a kid who died by actual hanging by mistake during a school play 20 years ago, and he’s now haunting other teens who thought they’d honor him with a revival of that same play. Remember kids: never re-create something that resulted in a tragedy the first time. History repeats itself.

And so does the horror genre.

The Gallows is directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, making their feature debut, and stars a bunch of young nobodies. It opens theatrically on July 10th.

Here’s that much better teaser:

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Christopher began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called 'Read,' back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials.