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Gallowwalkers – 6

Director – Andrew Goth

Cast – Wesley Snipes, Kevin Howarth, Riley Smith, Tanit Phoenix, Simona Roman, Steven Elder, Patrick Bergin, Dallas Page, Hector Hank, David De Beer, Alyssa Pridham

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Gallowwalkers has to be one of the most elusive horror films of recent day. Much like Trick ‘r Treat and Paranormal Activity, this flick sat on the shelf for years while fans yearned for an opportunity to give it a viewing. Filmed during the legal troubles of lead actor Wesley Snipes back in 2006, it took three years to complete this piece and another three years before it was released on DVD in 2013. Unlike the previously mentioned films that suffered an abnormally long shelf life, Gallowwalkers was hounded with bad reviews by those who witnessed its only screening at the Film4 Frightfest in the United Kingdom. I was disappointed to come across the negative remarks for a film I had been highly anticipating, and because of that I went into this experience with low expectations…and boy were they surpassed. Maybe it is because I enjoy seeing Wesley Snipes in a horror/western where he kills the living dead, but I enjoyed Gallowwalkers and am unashamed to say so.

After his lover is killed by a group of outlaws, Aman (Wesley Snipes) avenges her death by killing them. When he himself is killed, his mother, a nun, breaches her covenant with God to save him, which in turn curses Aman for life. His curse reanimates his victims, and when his lover’s killers are brought back from the dead he recruits a young warrior to fight by his side once more.

Wesley Snipes in a western battling reanimated corpses, how could I not be excited for this? The first act kicks into gear with Aman laying waste to his enemies, and then a bit of backstory explains the fuel behind his quest for vengeance. He enlists a young aid to cover him in the upcoming battle as his pursuers creep ever closer to him and those he cares for. The extreme majority of the story basically consists of Aman killing the undead in awesome gun slinging fashion, and every now and then cutting to Kansa and his own quest for revenge against Aman over the death of his son. The story is very basic and on its own has little to offer aside from violence and cool kills. Personally I did not mind this too much due to the direction bringing this basic story to life, but in the end the story is a bland one.

Andrew Goth’s direction is directly responsible for my enjoyment of this film. From the get-go he held my attention captive with his awesome locations (filmed in Africa) and awesome use of the flick’s most notable feature, Wesley Snipes. Aman was a joy to watch thanks to Snipes’ cold and effective performance. His appearance is awesome, from his all-black attire to his epic facial hair, and he also knows his way around a single-action .45 Colt revolver. The deaths were fun to watch and most came in classic western shoot-out fashion, but I would not expect loads of gore despite this being an “undead” film. So how were the undead? If you are expecting Romero-esque zombies then you will be disappointed, but overall I enjoyed the antagonists. Some were more decayed than others that were not decayed at all, but my favorite one donned a cast-iron mask and was portrayed by one of my childhood favorites, wrestler Diamond Dallas Page.

Overall, Gallowwalkers is a fun experience that gives us awesomeness I never thought I’d see: Wesley Snipes in a western killing the undead. The film has its faults and some of them may be too much to forgive, but with good direction and an awesome performance from Snipes this is a film I could not help but enjoy. It has been trashed by critics all over and because of that I was admittedly hesitant, but I suggest you give this a watch for yourself and develop your own opinion. Who knows, you may enjoy this like I did.

Rating: 6/10

…Additional Stills…

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