Viewed by it’s writer/director Corin Hardy as a mix between Straw Dogs and Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hollow is a cool little creature feature flick currently streaming on Netflix. A conservationist named Adam and his wife Claire move into a new home with their infant son Finn and are quickly warned by locals to stay out of the woods. Of course, they don’t listen, and Finn finds something he shouldn’t: a strange carcass covered in a strange black goo in an abandoned house. He takes a sample of the goo home and studies it only to find it’s a type of parasite. He eventually discovers the creatures the goo creates out in the woods, and that they want his son.
The acting from our two leads is well above average for this type of movie. Most of the story rests on the shoulders of Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones) as Adam. His transformation from distraught husband to a flaming scythe wielding monster hunter is executed flawlessly thanks to his performance. Bojana Novakovic (Devil, Edge of Darkness) as Claire is easy on the eyes (girls whose name sound like BoJangles often are) and does a great job as heroine when things get hairy towards the end. It’s good thing these two thespians are strong enough to carry the film with their performances because they are basically the only two people in it.
Overall, I liked The Hallow a lot but felt it had a definite pacing issue. As it only focuses primarily on the family, there isn’t a lot of action to keep the viewer interested during it’s middle segment. The real star of the film are the creatures and I feel they could have been better used if they had some red shirts to work with (the ending hints a sequel that would up the body count). With that said, this is a first feature length from Corin Hardy and he gets more right than wrong. The Irish forest the film takes place in is absolutely gorgeous and the ethereal shots that showcase it’s landscape add to the fairy tale like atmosphere. Also, Corin uses practical effects for the creatures that live in The Hallow. While we have to wait about an hour or so to see them, they are worth the wait. Their mixture of haunting, terrifying, and broken designs bring a strange sense of sympathy from the viewer. Think of them as miniature versions of Pumpkinhead and you’d be on the right track of what they are. Considering the dreck of new horror films that Netflix has on deck at the moment, The Hallow is a diamond in the rough. Check it out.
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