You might have noticed my reviews have been short, if not terse, lately. There's a reason; it's been a bit of a dry spell. Hey, I like bad and midling horror films as much as the next guy (as Stephen King says "You get a taste for boloney after a while."), but sometimes it does beat you down. The best film I've seen in week was was "Sharknado" and while it was a fun bad film it doesn't even reach any epic level of badness. Ed Woods would have those sharks in cashmere before the second act! I admit there's a bit of fun in tearing down a bad film, but I don't like myself for doing it. In fact, when I had my own newspaper column I made it my mission to find only the good to review. So, you can understand why I might not be as energized as I am usually.
Now we have Gallowwalkers and say what you will it's not a boring film.
Now I don't usually get into the behind the scene stuff. Honestly, I don't want to know what the star I like does in his free time as it usually depresses the hell out of me. However, it is interesting to note that this film was shot in 2006 and only just now released. Why the delay? Well, it hurts when you main actor Wesley Snipes is sent to jail for tax evasion. Even though he was allowed to finish filming no doubt the scandal wrecked hell with the production. The fact that they got something even remotely interesting out of that mess is a bit of a minor miracle.
So what is Gallowwalkers? Well it's something of a mix of horror, spaghetti western, and "El Topo" wrapped into a crazy package. Now I know my readers are into horror and are familiar with spaghetti westerns, but "El Topo," might require a bit of explanation. "El Topo" a.k.a. The Mole was one of the first midnight arthouse pictures and is best described as someone catchingon film the hallucinations of a religious maniac after a 24 hour spaghetti western marathon. Yes, my friends it is that good.
In Galowwalker we have a barren area that has a secret. There's a gateway to the after life and people in this area have the annoying habit of coming back from the dead. Wesley Snipes plays "Aman" (yeah, yeah I know...) who has killed five people who took from him the woman he loved. They come back from the dead though so he has to kill them again. The dead, are not happy and have their own plans and caught in the middle are a whore who does not have a heart of gold and a young badass.
The plot is pretty simple really but what makes this work is the visuals. The director makes great use of the desert space. There is certainly a sense of epic in how the gun fights are blocked. Also, the characters are certainly one of a kind designs that catch the imagination. I love for example the three gun fighters dressed almost like the spanish inquisition with their lips sewn shut. Sadly, this film is not perfection as it lacks a certain amount of chemistry. It comes off a bit sterile, more of an exercise in photography not narrative. Still, it's the most interesting thing I've seen in a while and I definitely recommend it.