Movie Review: "Gallowwalkers"
Aman (Wesley Snipes) is cursed. After the woman he loved was raped and murdered, he went on a mission of vengeance to find and kill the men responsible. He succeeded, so Aman believed that his dark past was behind him, but the men he killed have come back from the dead and are on their own mission of vengeance. He plans to trap and kill the men once again, but he soon realizes that they will be coming for him. Aman needs help so he finds a young man, named Fabulos (Riley Smith), frees him from his impending execution, and teaches him about the zombies that will be coming to exact their vengeance. Aman pays the young man and the two prepare to take on the gang of super-powered, intelligent zombies.
The Pros & Cons
The Premise (+2pts)
The Action (+2pts)
Special Effects (+1pts)
The Characters (-8pts)
Pro: The Premise (+2pts)
I thought this movie had an interesting premise. A gunman in the wild west was the victim of a curse that caused the men he murdered to be brought back from the dead. Usually, zombie films are set in the modern time period, so it was a pleasant surprise to see a zombie film that was set in the wild west. Cowboy hats, horses, guns, and zombies. I was definitely intrigued by the premise of this film, and knowing Wesley Snipes' history in the horror-fantasy genre, I thought this film had potential. Unfortunately, I watched the movie and saw the embarrassingly terrible execution of a premise that had potential. At the end of the day, the premise was still one of this movie’s strengths, but that is not saying much.
Con: The Plot (-10pts)
The plot for this film was unbearable. A gunman single-handedly killed a gang of rapists and murders. Then they came back from the dead and this gunman decided he suddenly needed help? This guy was a master gunslinger, and I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of explaining why he would need help the second time around, but let us just go with it an assume he needed help. Then he chose to hire some random young guy he did not know, who was about to be executed. What could this guy bring to the table that Aman actually needed? Oh, and let me point out that Aman was able to free the young guy, by shooting his handcuffs while standing on a cliff about a mile away, so I was once again baffled why Aman needed help in the first place (if he was that precise and deadly with a gun).
Then there was the issue with the goals of the main character. Aman killed a bunch of men, those men were resurrected, then they wander around aimlessly, Aman tried to kill them, then Aman randomly decided that they would now be to coming after him. Aman and Fabulos then prepared, waited, then found out, the zombies had some other goal that had nothing to do with Aman. The plot for this movie was an absolute mess, as it was absolutely riddled with plot holes and things that made no sense whatsoever. My only explanation is that this script was written, re-written, re-written again, butchered, and then Frankenstein-ed into the final version of the story, and the filmmakers did not really care if it made any sense by the end.
Pro: The Action (+2pts)
The action in this movie was actually decent. There were some cool gun fights, some brawls, and some powerful monsters. Aman was a master gunslinger, so the movie was at least somewhat watchable whenever he is firing a weapon. Believe me, if you knew how bad this film was, you would know that some scenes being "somewhat watchable" is a huge step up from the rest of the movie.
There were just plenty of violent moments in this movie. Characters died, came back to life, killed other people, and got killed again, and this all happened through some decent action sequences. Unfortunately, while the action was decent while it was happening, there was far too little of it. As a result, the action that actually happened, was far from being enough to save this movie.
Con: Zombies (-8pts)
I struggled with how ridiculous the "zombies" were in this movie. I am using the word "zombie" very loosely, and simply mean that these people have died and come back from the dead. For whatever reason, the zombies' skin decayed, but their muscles did not, and their intelligence was not impacted by their death either. As a result, they killed other people, skinned them, and wore their victim’s skin as their own. They also looked exactly like they did before (meaning they did not resemble their victims at all) with the only difference being that they now had bleached blonde hair (because reasons). The zombies did not bite people nor did they eat people. They behaved exactly as they did before they died except they also had to skin people regularly.
I thought this took all of the interest out of the premise of this film. The zombies were really just strong men that were tough to kill, and were for all intents and purposes, not zombies at all. Oh, and one zombie decided that human skin decayed too quickly, so he killed lizards and used their skin instead. He also deemed it necessary to leave the tails on the skin as he was wearing it. Thus, this guy was running around with a couple lizard tails flopping off the back of his head. It was such a dumb concept, and honestly took me out of the movie more so than I already was. The idea of zombies set in the Wild West is an interesting one, but the filmmakers took too many ridiculous liberties with these “zombies”, and I thought it ruined the movie—as if the plot had not already done so.
Pro: Special Effects (+1pts)
While I absolutely hated the "zombies" in this movie, I thought the special effects looked pretty good—although that may have just been relative to how much I hated the rest of the movie. It did not feel like a zombie film. It felt like a western-fantasy, and the special effects were definitely in-line with a fantasy tone. When we first saw one of the zombies, they had a weird scar running along the edges of their face. That immediately suggested that the zombies were wearing other human's skin. However, I had no idea what they looked like underneath. Then we saw one of the zombies before they put on another skin. The zombies skinNed themselves down to the muscle, and this muscle effect looked pretty cool. It fit the tone of the film, but I will be honest, the special effects ended up meaning very little. This was a terrible movie with a few decent-ish special effects.
Con: The Characters (-8pts)
The characters in this movie were very poorly written. There was only one character that got even a little character development—that character being Aman. All we really know about him was that he was amazing with a gun, and the love of his life was raped and murdered. Every other character was extremely one-dimensional and it made the movie very uninteresting.
Fabulos was a young man that could fight. There was really nothing more to him than that. All of the antagonists simply wanted revenge and the main antagonist wanted his son to come back to life. This was honestly all of the character development, and it made for a very uninteresting movie.
Grade: F (54pts)
There is no way around it, Gallowwalkers was a bad movie. To its credit, it had an interesting premise, some decent action sequences, a couple of neat special effects, but that was all this movie was. The plot was an absolute train wreck that was full of plot holes and will leave viewers wondering if the film was written by a couple of middle-school children. The concept of the "zombies" in this film was so ridiculously dumb that it left me embarrassed that I actually chose to watch this thing. These things (together) ruined the interesting premise, the action was scarce, and the special effects were hardly noteworthy.
In other words, this movie's problems were like an ocean of polluted water, and its strengths were like droplets of clean water falling into it. This was just a bad movie, and was time that I will never get back. If you are looking for a train wreck of a movie that you and some friends can get together and laugh at, this movie might not be a bad bet. If you are looking for anything else, I would avoid Gallowwalkers.