IMDB Rating: 5.7 / 10
Nobody does a horror movie quite like the British and Irish do.
Usually I’m reasonably up-to-date with what’s coming out horror-wise, but the only reason I chanced upon this little gem was because it had a one letter difference from The Hollow. I thought the concept was interesting since I have an affinity for Celtic myth and folklore and, knowing that the fae can be quite mischievous little bastards, was keen to find out how they were going to be made into something horrific.
What I can say is that this was an absolutely brilliant film that I loved from beginning to end, and is deserving of a far higher rating than those at IMDB have deigned to give it.
Adam and Clare Hitchens are a lovely couple from London who have moved out into a particularly rural part of Ireland to investigate trees. That sounds odd, but Adam’s a conservationist who’s been tasked with investigating an outbreak of fungal infections and massive tree die-off in the local woods, so it’s completely legit. While Adam and Clare see no issue with this, the locals are not quite as understanding. A superstitious lot, they believe that the woods are home to the Hallow, fae (or fairy)-like creatures who will leave you alone so long as you stay out of their home. Colm Donnelly, a local resident, really leads the charge when it comes to staying out of the woods, believing that the Hallow stole his daughter when she mistakenly went wandering off.
So when random noises and the occasional broken window start happening at the Hitchens home in the middle of the night, they suspect (perhaps reasonably) that it’s Colm that’s up to no good. Of course, it isn’t Colm, but the Hallow. The Hallow seem to work on the rule of thumb that if you trespass in their woods they expect a kid in return, and they’ve come to collect their due.
The Hallow are rather vicious creatures with a lot of pointy bits and foul black mucus to throw around; the only two defences that seem to have any affect on them are light and iron. Adam and Clare will need to really rally if they have any hope of saving their little bundle of joy from becoming the latest child to succumb to these nightmarish creatures, particularly in an area where your “neighbour” is several many miles, a hill and a ferry trip away.
Everything about how this movie was put together is right.
Ireland lends itself to this kind of movie since it has all that lush open rural space, which is simultaneously delightful but harrowing to traverse when things start to go down. The same applies to the beautifully rustic home the Hitchens live in and the seemingly endless woodland that extends beyond their garden – it’s the epitome of every city dweller’s dream for a countryside escape, but when the monsters come for you there’s nothing to help you when there’s danger at every turn.
The Hallow themselves have been put together fantastically, and are just the right combination of monstrous, gooey and humanoid to be very unnerving to look at. There’s something very threatening about a creature that has all of the basic features of a human being, but whose overall appearance and behaviour will instinctively tell you that it wants you for a snack.
This movie genuinely creeped me out.
The Hallow isn’t the type of film that relies on enormous jump scares to get you; rather, it uses atmosphere and the ability of these creatures to get under your skin. That being said it is the sort of film that relies on its audience already finding the idea of creatures like the fae frightening in order to be effective, and if gore and maniacal serial killers are more your thing I would advise that you give this one a pass.
What I enjoyed the most about The Hallow is that, without spoiling anything, the creatures aren’t supernatural, and present a very real, very physical threat that need to be defeated, with a relatively clever twist at the end to explain what these creatures are. On top of that you have beautiful cinematography and a cast that, while small, is very good in their respective roles and who interact wonderfully with one another.
I highly recommend giving this a watch.
My Final Rating: 8 / 10
Buy The Hallow at Amazon.com