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Gallows Hill (The Damned) 2013

Being a bit of a Twilight Zone nerd, I've watched all of the episodes many - MANY - times. This has the strange effect of giving me "known" plots to stumble over on my movie watching travels.

Gallows Hill is a movie length version of episode 41, The Howling Man. For those of you who haven't seen it, the story goes like this:

A man on a walking trip becomes lost and during a sudden rain storm, wanders into a nearby castle. Instead of being welcomed by friendly natives, he is told to leave immediately. On his way back out the door, he collapses. When he wakes, he hears a terrible howl and (stupidly) goes to investigate. He discovers a bedraggled man in a cell who claims to be a prisoner of an insane religious order. Said leader (Brother Jerome) later explains that the prisoner is not a man, but rather the devil himself. Convinced that Jerome is insane, our traveler waits until his guard falls asleep, creeps down to the cell, and releases the prisoner. As he walks toward the exit, he begins to change, taking on the appearance of the devil with each step before departing the castle in a plume of smoke. Our traveler embarks on a new journey to try and recapture the devil.

Gallows Hill presents us with a family traveling in Columbia. During a flash flood they attempt to take refuge in an old inn where the creepy old innkeeper tries to shoo them away. Not taking no for an answer, they plead for entrance and he finally agrees. Once inside, he asks them NOT TO WANDER AROUND which, of course means that they immediately split up and begin wandering around. Through a vent in the floor, the daughter hears a little girl begging for help. They head to the basement to investigate and discover a young girl locked in a cell. She begs to be let free. As they try to get her out, the innkeeper bursts in, begging them to keep her locked up. They knock him out, set her free, and bad shit begins to happen.

The freed girl very quickly shows her true colors: first she impersonally molests the teenage daughter, then she confronts another women in the group telling her secrets about herself. Then people start to die. The "evil" inside the girl "jumps" to another body when she is killed. This is right about when it comes out that the "evil" is the spirit of a witch who is on a mission to kill all of the descendants of the families that killed her.

The plot offers absolutely no surprises - it's a linear trudge from the reveal to the climax. Even the body-jumping Fallen component isn't particularly surprising.

Aside from predictability, the movie also suffers from awful acting and some really bad casting. None of the actors look at all the ages they are supposed to be. When the college-age main character has dinner with her father for the first time, I thought she was kidding about the relationship.

I was also disappointed when I realized the potential for a great "evil child" movie had been replaced by a boring, body-jumping witch movie.

If you've got any sense, you'll skip this movie and just watch The Howling Man instead.

Watch The Howling Man here:


Watch the trailer for Gallows Hill here:

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