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The Gallows Act II

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Gallows Act II Movie Poster Image
Lots of cheap jump scares in violent horror sequel.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 99 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

In a way, the movie is a warning against doing dangerous things just to gain social media followers, but it's a fairly indirect message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No role models here: Characters are all thinly drawn, behave only according to needs of plot. Auna claims that she's pursuing acting not to see her "name in lights," but she's still pretty interested in amassing YouTube followers, and she seems to pick up The Gallows simply to do that.

Violence

Jump scares. Images of people hanged by the neck. Dead bodies. Things flying across the room. Ghosts, creatures. Dog killed, shown hanging from tree. Choking. Door slamming on fingers; blood shown. Sewing needle in finger (blood). Teen is verbally bullied/discouraged by family members. Bullies at school.

Sex

Teens kiss passionately and are then interrupted.

Language

Uses of "s--t," "damn."

Consumerism

Characters are obsessed with YouTube views; the YouTube interface is shown many times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Gallows Act II is the sequel to the 2015 horror movie The Gallows. This one doesn't use the same "found footage" gimmick, but it does rely heavily on jump scares, loud noises, and not-very-smart characters; it's mostly familiar old clichés. Violent/disturbing images include characters hanged by the neck and choking, a dog killed and hung from a tree, things flying across the room, ghosts and monsters, some blood, and bullying. Minimal language includes uses of "s--t" and "damn." Teens kiss passionately but are interrupted. A teen girl is obsessed with her YouTube views and subscribers, and the YouTube interface is shown frequently. In a way, the movie is a warning against doing dangerous things just to gain social media followers, but that message is pretty indirect.

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What's the story?

In THE GALLOWS ACT II, hopeful acting student Auna Rue (Ema Horvath) starts attending Fellbrook High School, where her Broadway star idols once went. She botches her first class reading but still attracts the attention of handsome Cade Parker (Chris Milligan). Later, Auna gets a message on her floundering YouTube channel encouraging her to do a "Charlie Challenge" (summoning an evil spirit) using the old play The Gallows. She does, and -- thanks to a spooky occurrence in her video -- her channel takes off. Her romance with Cade also takes off, and her readings from the play in class make her an instant star. But something isn't right, and strange things begin to happen. As Auna attempts to put The Gallows out of her life, it becomes apparent that there's only one way to end the terror.

Is it any good?

Marginally better than its found-footage predecessor, which isn't saying much, this horror sequel still falls prey to the usual clichés, from cheap jump scares to not-very-smart characters. The Gallows was a clumsy jumble that was hamstrung both by weak characters and a weak premise. But it was a hit, so co-writers/directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing are back with The Gallows Act II. This time, they ditch the found-footage style and focus on a more likable character in Auna, but although she's sweet, she's still annoyingly naive. Her behavior is always bent in service to the plot, rather than to her character.

As a scary movie, this one's a dud. Almost all of the bloodless frights are jump scares, and many of them are false, all accompanied by loud, percussive noises on the soundtrack. It's the equivalent of someone jumping out and yelling "Boo!" Moreover, the few non-jump scares are also ruined by an overuse of music. Even the overall plot isn't very interesting. Whatever malevolent spirit is in charge of tormenting people with the old play isn't much of a presence here; the events feel almost random. In the end, the unsatisfying The Gallows Act II will leave most horror fans feeling like they're at the end of their rope.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Gallows Act II's violence. Does the fact that it's largely bloodless affect its impact? How do the filmmakers achieve the movie's biggest scares?

  • How scary is the movie? What's the appeal of horror movies?

  • What is the movie saying about YouTube and the obsession to amass more views and subscribers? Do outrageous videos pay off? Are they worth it? Read more in our Parents' Ultimate Guide to YouTube.

  • How does the sequel compare to the original?

  • This movie is mainly about the dangers of curiosity. Have you ever been curious about something and then later regretted it? When is it good to be curious?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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