For a film that took nearly eight years to complete, I expected better. Gallowwalkers main issue for me is that it commits the greatest of movie crimes, it’s boring and it really has no reason to be. Gallowwalkers is a scant ninety minutes long and with the premise of a gun man having to re-kill his victims it could have been a lot better. But in addition to the flaw of being boring, Gallowwalkers has a whole litany of other issues and has plot holes big enough you could pitch a tent in them.
Gallowwalkers follows Aman (Wesley Snipes) as he hunts for a gang of men that raped his wife, who became pregnant and later dies in childbirth. He rescues Fabulos (Riley Smith), who’s being transported by the police with other prisoners including Angel (Tanit Pheonix). Aman takes Fabulos out into the desert, where Aman traps Fabulos and forces him to fight off a handful of undead called gallowwalkers, After surviving, Aman offers Fabulos a job, as it turns out as great of a gun man he is he can’t kill all the bad guys, all by him self. Than the movie goes all wonky with its storytelling. In the jumbled mess that’s the rest of the film, we learn that Aman has already killed the men once and died shortly after. His mother found his body and because she’s part of some nun order or group of witches, the film changes back and forth on this subject it seem, she gets him brought back to life. But at a cost, when Aman returns so do all of his victims, of which there are many and he sets his sights on re-killing all of them. But foremost the gangs leader Kansa (Kevin Howarth), who also wants to kill Aman and to learn why his son didn’t return. Kansa and his men attack Aman while at his home, the place where it all started…
Like I said, this film is boring. Without a terrible lot happening in the film as a whole. It’s crazy that a film that has people getting skinned, so the undead can wear their flesh could be boring. But this movie made that happen. It’s hard to explain how this film manages to bland, boring and yet at the same time be all over the place.
Part of the issue is things just seem to happen for no reason and characters exists for no reason. Angel, I’m looking at you. Tanit Pheonix does a good enough job with how absolute little she’s given. The first time we see the character she manages to slip a knife off an officer, while she’s handcuffed. Showing that this character is intelligent and capable. Then she just gets relegated to being a pretty face that gets dragged around from place to place for no reason. She’s played up towards the end like she’s supposed to be Fabulos love interest and that we should be concerned about her well being. Which, with how little she’s in the film and how disposable the character is, as you could remove from the film as is and nothing would be lost, makes no sense.
But my main issue is with the undead. For some reason they have no skin and must kill people to take theirs. But why is never explained. Does being undead cause your skin to fall off? Or did they discard their skin and are using others as a disguise? What’s with the guy with the lizard skin? They never even try to explain that. Along with how many people did Aman kill? Because the amount of undead in this film vastly exceeds the number of people involved in Aman’s wife’s rape.
The final gripe I need to throw out is about the character of Aman himself. Why are we supposed to root for this guy? He leaves his wife when he learns she’s pregnant by her rapists and then leaves her. She dies in childbirth while he’s away and he then holds the men accountable for her death. I’m not upset with his need for revenge, I’m bothered that he left after his wife asks him to stay. He chooses revenge over his wife and that’s a character flaw I dislike.
Final thoughts, this film is the kind of hot mess you need to see to understand and after viewing it’s very easy to see why this film went straight DVD two years after completion. I feel like Gallowwalkers is just a brick of wasted potential as Wesley Snipes can act. He did an amazing job in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything. But Gallowwalkers is just a mess and I can’t in good conscience recommend this film to anyone. 2/10