GallowWalkers (2012)

-Review by Paul Ewbank-

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GallowWalkers is a zombie horror/ Wild West crossover film starring Wesley Snipes released straight to DVD in 2012. Based on that information alone I should’ve been able to guess how terrible it was going to be. I think our reasons for watching it were that the trailer made it look pretty good and for a lazy Saturday evening’s viewing ‘Blade meets Westerns’ didn’t sound too taxing on the mind. For the record I still think that a zombie/western crossover could work. It’s just a shame that with GallowWalkers they chose to cross a bad horror movie with a bad western.

As far as plot goes Wesley Snipes is a badass, gunslinging cowboy-rasta dude on a mission to put to rest a group of ne’er-do-wells who wronged his wife is a pretty big way. For no reason at all they are also vampire-zombie things who steal normal people’s skin. For no reason at all Wesley recruits a convict called, um, actually I don’t think any of the characters are actually given names, but anyway the two of them go off to shoot the vampire guys who are going around killing people for no reason at all. If it sounds like I didn’t really follow the plot of this film then that’d probably because THIS FILM MAKES NO SENSE. Like, there are films which make no sense in a good way; something can be intentionally confusing or important details can be left out to make room for twists and surprises. This is not that. This is a film making no sense because it is crap. Apparently the writers only got as far as ‘Blade in the Wild West’ too before giving up. Each scene is made with no thought of continuity from previous happenings- most scenes for the first hour consist of people walking up to each other, a few rounds of clichéd, pointless dialogue, and then one person shoots all the others, whether it makes sense for them to do so or not.  GallowWalkers seems interested only in cramming as much dull violence, clichéd, nonsensical dialogue and lame, cheesy approximations of shootouts between guys in vampire fetish outfits into each scene as possible.

Once the pieces of the plot start to fall in a vague kind of follow-able order, the results are actually kind of worse. The explanation for the whole undead thing is so ridiculous and so poorly done as to be laugh out loud funny. And even once you reach the end there are still whole scenes and characters which were in there for no reason at all. The bad guys kidnap a random beautiful girl and take her along for the ride on some nominal reasoning, but she never does anything and nothing about her is ever revealed. I can think of no reason she is in the movie. Well, actually, I can think of two very good reasons why the makers thought to both put her in the movie and put her in such ridiculously skimpy attire. Poor lass.

Wesley Snipes is of course a total vacuum as far as acting ability goes, but then we all already knew that. He can pout and look menacing well enough but he doesn’t seem interested in even trying to do anything else. One scene where he explains his oh-so tragic backstory is just cringeworthy, as are his attempted witty putdowns. At no point is it explained where he got all his badass shooting skills from either. One day he was just a guy working at a slaughterhouse, then his wife got attacked, now he can kill everybody. All but a couple of the action scenes are just him shooting someone and them dying instantly, so there’s zero tension and zero interest. The levels of violence are pretty high and I guess the effects and stuff aren’t as fake looking as in a lot of these kinds of films but it’s all so artlessly explicit that there’s little impact.

Thinking back on the film there’s so much in it that is there for no reason other than to try and look cool. Why did those three guys at the beginning (who are dressed like the Spanish Inquisition from Monty Python, by the way) ride in ever so slowly on a train being pushed by a random Chinese dude? Why did one of them have his mouth sewn over? Why did we get flashbacks relating to all those guys after they’d all been killed? It was all so nonsensical it started reminding me of the intro to Rubber where the Sheriff looks right at the camera and proclaims the film to be ‘an homage to No Reason, that most powerful element of style’. But then, Rubber was a weird as hell meta-film about audience expectations that just happened to feature a tyre called Robert going on a killing spree. GallowWalkers is trying to pass itself off as a serious action movie and I wasn’t buying it for one second. I’m all for a bit of senseless trash once in a while but this was just lazy, boring and stupid.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! As much as it sucks, this is probably still be best scene in the film.
No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!
As much as it sucks, this is probably still be best scene in the film.
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