GallowWalkers is a 2010 (released 2013) Wesley Snipes horror-western directed by Andrew Goth from a screenplay co-written with Joanne Reay.
Originally begun in 2006 and titled Gallowwalker, the film mixes spaghetti-western aesthetics with zombie horror. Due to Wesley Snipes’ tax problems, the film went through many changes and delays and was finally completed in 2010, having swallowed up a reported budget was $17 million. It still had no official release until a screening at the Film4 FrightFest festival in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2012.
After a group of outlaws kill his lover, Aman (Wesley Snipes) goes after them and kills them. When he is killed himself, his mother, a nun, breaks her covenant with God to save his life, which in turn curses him for life.
Aman’s curse brings his victims back to life, and as undead, they pursue him endlessly for revenge. Forever suffering this curse and still seeking revenge, before Aman enlists Fabulos (Riley Smith), a young gunman, to fight by his side against his undead victims…
Partly a revamp of Blade’s comic-strip mythologising – Snipes once again plays an undead avenger, battling undead villains – and partly a mannered stab at Jodorowsky-style surrealism – it opens with Snipes’ desert showdown with three men dressed as cardinals, one of whom has his lips sewn shut – it is in large measure a Leone tribute: wide shots and close-ups; studied mise-en-scène; dialogue cribbed from Once Upon a Time in the West.
The use of fragmented flashbacks is also telling, although what they reveal, after a jumbled opening third, is that a slight revenge story – gunfighter kills bandits for raping his woman – has been scrambled and swollen with half-baked ideas about entries to hell and postmortem skincare, not to mention secondary characters who have no bearing whatsoever on the plot.
Snipes, as the redundantly monikered Aman, looks good, in dreads and duster, but constructs his performance from poses and gestures; when he is called upon to intone the backstory – how Aman’s mother saved his life via a demonic pact, but brought down a curse that resurrects his victims – he does so stiltedly. Then again, it is such a clumsy expository device that perhaps he shouldn’t be faulted too harshly.
His adversaries are pleasingly outlandish, led by a bewigged, white-haired psychopath who steals people’s skin – the ‘gallowwalkers’’ own hides do not last long in the sun, apparently. These creatures need beheading if they are to die for good, with Snipes ripping out spinal columns just to make sure – predictably, the CGI effects are patchy.
While Snipes was on hiatus, co-writer/director Andrew Goth (seriously?) would have been wiser honing the script, rewiring the characters and cutting out the tangents. As it is, GallowWalkers remains considerably less than the sum of its influences.
Kevin Grant, moviesandmania
“If you’ve seen the trailer for GallowWalkers, then not only have you seen pretty much all the best parts, you’ve actually seen a more lucid version of the movie than the film itself.” Scott Foy, Dread Central
“It would take a team of veteran film critics working around the clock to catalog all the things that are wrong with this outrageously goofy movie […] GallowWalkers is funnier by accident than Adam Sandler is on purpose.”Scott Weinberg, FEARnet
Cast and characters:
- Wesley Snipes as Aman
- Kevin Howarth as Kansa
- Riley Smith as Fabulos
- Tanit Phoenix as Angel
- Patrick Bergin as Marshall Gaza
- Steven Elder as Apollo Jones (Priest)
- Diamond Dallas Page as Skullbucket
- Jenny Gago as Mistress
- Simona Brhlikova as Kisscut
- Alyssa Pridham as Sueno
- Alex Avant as Forty Bold
- Hector Hank as Hool
- Jonathan García as Slip Knot
Related: Death Rides a Horse: Horror Westerns – article