The Hallow Review
The Hallow is the debut feature of director Corin Hardy who is most famous for his work with music videos. The film is an interesting but flawed tale set in the Irish countryside centering around a young couple and their baby, whose recent venture into sacred territory has awoken a dark secret within the woodlands.
The story follows Adam and Clare Hitchens (played by Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic) who move to the Irish woodland because of Adam's job. Soon after entering the hallowed ground of the mysterious creatures known as "The Hallow", the Hitchens discover that not all folklore should be taken lightly. Mysterious liquid and fungi start appearing around the neighbouring buildings and Adam takes it upon himself to delve deeper into the mystery.
From the beginning (and even the trailer) the film possesses a powerful indie vibe, most noticeably reminiscent of The Evil Dead, with an eerie setting of woodland and heavy reliance on practical effects over CGI. A trait that most modern horror films criminally neglect to use.
The biggest flaw with The Hallow is its over-ambitiousness to implement too many ideas, some of which never get fully explored or explained. This leaves the plot feeling overall a bit over-encumbered and top heavy. That's not the say that we as an audience do not appreciate the intentions of the writer, because the ideas themselves are interesting in their own right.
The ending which should have been left slightly ambiguous (something expertly executed by this year's It Follows) instead fell into the trap of all modern horror films and destroyed the credit it had earned with a throw-away jump scare.
What I most enjoyed about The Hallow is its attention to creating a tense atmosphere with a great mixture of sound and set design along with superb creature effects that put a lot of big budget hollywood features to shame. On the other hand, it severely lacked in any real character development and unfortunately tried to work too many ideas into a 90 minute long film. Also, as a fan of Michael Smiley, I was expecting to see a lot more from him, but a brief 3 minute cameo was all that we as an audience received.