IMDB Rating: 3.6 / 10
I do love a good gamble!
I came across the trailer for The Hollow while mindlessly hopping around Youtube to see what little horror gems had come out recently. The trailer was awesome, and I really liked what I saw. The IMDB rating, however, was atrocious (and at the time of writing is still falling). So I sat down, popcorn and cat at the ready, to see which way this was going to go. In the end this isn’t a movie that will ever be regarded as a classic, but is perfect for your Sunday night viewing pleasure when you want to gently numb yourself to the fact that you need to go back to work on Monday.
Sarah, Marley and Emma are three sisters who are in a spot of bother. With their parents recently deceased and Emma’s hospitalisation eating into all of the money that was left to them, they are left with no choice but to go and live with their aunt Cora. Cora lives in what looks like a very lovely town with old school values and mom–and–pop grocery stores on some island. Naturally, however, where there’s a mom-and-pop grocery store there’s always some dark secret just waiting to be unearthed.
On the eve of Halloween in 1915 the town burned six young girls who were accused of witchcraft. With their last dying breath the six vowed revenge on the town, and their souls were sucked up into the storm that was battering the island. 100 years later the storm has returned for the witches to get their revenge, unleashing a wicker man-type monster that’s burning on the inside and that’s determined to make anything it catches burn on the inside too.
Sarah, being the eldest and now leader of the family, is determined to keep her sisters safe until Halloween ends and the monster goes back to whatever hellish cumulonimbus cloud spawned it. Emma, who has a bad experience when it comes to people dying around her, believes that she is the cause of the monster’s destructive rampage and only wants to run away from her sisters, believing this will keep them safe. And then there’s Marley – Marley knows what the fuck’s up. She’s the type that every horror movie needs – she’ll take crap from nothing and nobody but also knows that it’s not a good idea to split up to investigate the abandoned power plant in the dark.
The three sisters, with a rag-tag team of the town’s survivors, need to find a way to ride out the storm and escape a monster that can get in anywhere provided there’s an air duct or sewage pipe, lest they land up having their insides turned to charcoal.
This is an example of a movie that knows what to do with its modest budget. As the majority of the first half of the film relies more on atmosphere (which, to be honest, it isn’t entirely successful in doing) than on special effects, it means that more effort could be put into properly creating the monster.
Now the monster, when you boil it down, is nothing more than twigs and a burning light, but it’s been designed well enough that it’s reasonably creepy. Despite some early scenes which would suggest otherwise there’s also very little blood and gore in this film, and many of the killings take place off-screen. This meant that there didn’t need to be an attempt to create horrific scenes which the budget most likely would not have allowed for, and where you do see someone being killed it’s more a case of them being charred from the inside out rather than being eviscerated.
I’m all for taming your horror to fit within the confines of what budget and personnel will allow for rather than half-arsed attempts to create scenes and imagery that ultimately detract from the film, and this is where The Hollow gets its priorities right.
In my humble opinion a lot of this movie rode on the character of Marley, who provided a very human and kick ass element to the crisis going on around her; without her I think the movie would have been a lot more painful to watch.
Ultimately The Hollow is horror by numbers – it’s a very competent little movie that does what it sets out to do perfectly, but doesn’t bring to the table anything we haven’t already seen a dozen or so times in other films. It’s the kind of movie I can see myself owning on DVD and half-watching many times over as it plays in the background while I get on with something else.
My Final Rating: 6 / 10
Buy The Hollow at Amazon.com