Synopsis: A family who move into a remote millhouse in Ireland find themselves in a fight for survival with demonic creatures living in the woods.
Release Date: November 6, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director Corin Hardy has been so mired in the entertainment news reports of the on-again/off-again status of his next project, the controversial remake of The Crow, that many people have forgotten how he’s got a new movie to promote. Well, he does: the nifty little creature feature The Hallow.
The Hallow is about a scientist named Adam Hitchens (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter‘s Joseph Mawle) who moves his wife, Clare (Bojana Novakovic from Devil and Drag Me to Hell), and their infant son to a small house in the Irish countryside on the edge of a thick forest. Adam spends his days researching the wildlife in the woods, but the locals, led by a curmudgeon named Colm Donnelly (Michael McElhatton from “Game of Thrones”), want him to stop snooping around, claiming that the forests belong to “the Hallows” – the fairies, banshees, and demons of Irish folklore. This just makes Adam more curious, but when Donnelly drops a book off with Clare about the woods, she becomes convinced. At this point, however, it’s too late; whatever is in the woods has come for them – and their son.
Written by Hardy and Felipe Marino (credited as Olga Barraneche, he also wrote Madame Bovary), The Hallow functions on a few different levels. On the one hand, it’s a monster movie along the lines of The Thing or Pumpkinhead. On the other, it’s a story of hapless people caught outside of their element, a theme akin to Deliverance or Straw Dogs. It’s also a cool tale of science vs. religion, with Adam the academic butting heads with the superstitious townsfolk. It even turns into a siege movie á la Night of the Living Dead or Assault on Precinct 13 once the family members barricade themselves inside of their house to try and fend off the inevitable attack. There’s a lot going on in The Hallow, but not in a cluttered, unfocused way. It’s actually a very economical movie.
At first glance, it seems as if everything in The Hallow has been done before. And it has. The isolated cabin next to the dark woods, the mistrust that the locals feel for the outsiders, the ever-present invincibility of the monsters – they’re all horror tropes that audiences have seen a million times. But there’s an energy and electricity to The Hallow that keeps it from ever feeling too familiar. And, as archetypical as its ingredients may be, The Hallow will never feel as familiar as a remake of The Crow will.
There are a lot of scary elements to The Hallow. The very setting in which it takes place, the secluded cabin on the edge of the woods, is frightening. The passive hostility of the townspeople as they let Adam and Clare know that they don’t want them there is horrifying as well. There are also a handful of cringe-worthy torture-type sequences tossed in as well (without giving anything away, let’s just say that one scene is a loving tribute to Lucio Fulci’s Zombie). But perhaps the scariest aspect is what is not shown; there are a number of fun jump scares, but they’re built up mainly through the classic quiet-to-loud sound design technique that so many other movies have used, mostly because it’s so effective. The monsters themselves are a slow reveal, and when they do finally show up (courtesy of creature designer Ivan Manzella, who also did the creature concepts for Prometheus and Edge of Tomorrow), they’re awesomely disgusting, part Cronenbergian body horror and part Carpenter-esque shapeshifter. When it comes to scares, The Hallow is a complete package.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Corin Hardy
- Producer(s): Felipe MarinoJoe Neurauter
- Screenwriter(s): Corin HardyFelipe Marino
- Cast: Joseph Mawle (Adam Hitchens)Bojana Novakovic (Clare Hitchens)Michael McElhatton (Colm Donnelly) Gary Lydon (Doyle)Stuart Graham (Contractor Paul Williams)
- Editor(s): Nick Emerson
- Cinematographer: Martin van Broekhuizen
- Production Designer(s): Mags Linnane
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s): Dixie Chassay
- Music Score: James Gosling
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USAUK