The Hallow Movie Review
Written by Giuseppe Infante
Released by IFC Midnight
Directed by Colin Hardy
Written by Colin Hardy and Felipe Marino
2015, 97 minutes, Not Rated
Released on On Demand on November 5th, 2015 and theatrically on November 6th, 2015
Joseph Mawle as Adam Hitchens
Bojana Novakovic as Clare Hitchens
Michael McElhatton as Colm Donnelly
Gary Lydon as Doyle
The leitmotif of ‘stay out of the forest/woods’ is age-old, and seen in classic literature like Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood, to contemporary horror films such as The Evil Dead and Friday the 13th. In Corin Hardy’s directorial debut, The Hallow, an English married couple, Adam and Clare (Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic), and their baby (sometimes an actual baby, sometimes a prop) have recently moved to the Irish countryside. Their home has iron bars on the windows and is surrounded by forestry greenery. And like most people who are told not to do something, Adam doesn’t listen and enters the woods anyway, against the advice from local neighbor, Colm. After stumbling upon some black gooey stuff, the family is soon stalked by demonic fairy tale creatures.
It takes a while for The Hallow to kick into high gear, but about halfway through it is in full throttle. The setup dances around many different themes and tropes in the horror genre. The movie has elements of body horror, creature features, slashers and psudoscience, and juggles such a daunting task with ease. Rather than being an all-over-the-place mess, Hardy executes handling these themes with precision and clarity, avoiding what could have been a train wreck of homages. Kudos!
Filming on location in wooded areas in Ireland added beautiful locals and imagery to The Hallow. The lush greens and browns of the forest furthers the daytime scenes and illuminates the gloom and doom during night scenes. The house the family is residing in is also a striking image, reminding viewers of isolation in the countryside. There are no close-by neighbors, as the family is on their own against these creatures.
Speaking of the creatures, the combination of practical and digital effects are another standout. After recently reviewing Dark was the Night, that movie’s creature effects weakened the overall aura of the film. In The Hallow, the creatures do the opposite. Their appearance in most scenes looks as real as a dog walking down the street, not having any digital effects added to the practical effect. There are some scenes where you can tell the creatures are digitized, to enhance the practical effect, but still keep the visual grounded with ‘real feel’ creatures on the prowl.
The directorial debut by Colin Hardy is successful on many levels. The Hallow is an entertaining and ambitious horror outing with plenty of tension, bloodshed and creatures to go around. The story is unique, bringing mythology and science together to establish a new breed of demonic creature. Though the movie is unique and adds to contemporary horror, it is not a masterpiece by any means. Hardy is definitely a filmmaker to lookout for in the future, and he’s been rumored to be directing a new The Crow reboot. In the meantime, take another trip back to the forest and check out The Hallow.