The Hallow (2015)

woods_ver3_xlgWelcome back, and thanks for continuing to click these links when they show up! It’s pretty cool to see that even 30 people a day come by and see what I have to say. It really means a lot. One piece of house keeping, if you’re interested in non-horror movies that I recommend, go check out http://funatthemovies.tumblr.com. The reviews are only a few lines, and it’s more gifs than anything. However, they’re movies that I had fun watching for one reason or another. So, check it out and give it a follow. Anyways, lets venture into The Hallow.

A family who move into a remote milllhouse in Ireland find themselves in a fight for survival with demonic creatures living in the woods.

So, this little Irish horror flick is directed by Corin Hardy, making a step outside of music videos and journeying into Irish folk tales and horror movies. Now, I admittedly don’t know much about the folk story that is featured in this movie, and I really don’t know if it’s one that existed before, so if you know then let me know. With that said, I don’t think it much matters, because the movie does work without context as well. So, Corin wrote and directed this one and it is his first feature film (apparently he is directing the remake of The Crow, so we’ll see how that goes). Overall he does a pretty good job here, he gets great performances from his actors, and also builds a pretty interesting world. The nice thing about this is that the movie doesn’t spend two thirds of its running time explaining, in detail, every single element of the world, and rather throws you in as reality, which was kind of nice in a time where movies need to squeeze every piece of back story out of any movie they can.

Actor wise, I didn’t recognize anyone, but a quick look through IMDB suggests that they’ve been around the movie scene in the US. One familiar face, for me, was Michael Smiley (Kill List), though his performance is pretty small. The movie focuses around Joseph Mawle (The Awakening), and Bojana Novakovic (Drag Me To Hell) and the pair of them carry the movie really well, giving strong and believable performances. The two of them give pretty physical performances and they’re really fun to watch from start to finish. The movie also stars Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones) and Gary Lydon (Calvary), who are also plenty watchable in this.

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The movie does take place primarily at night, so it’s definitely a dark movie both literally and in its general tone. As I always appreciate, the movie doesn’t shy away from “kids in peril”, hell, there are some pretty disturbing scenes involving the infant child that really did make me nervous as to how far they might take it. For those of you who can’t deal with animals being injured in movies (even the totally not real violence) there are a couple of grim scenes with the family dog, but they don’t feel gratuitous, it’s more just the likely result of having a dog and living in the horror story that these people do.

The biggest surprise to me here, was that there are actually monsters in this monster movie. It’s not often that a movie moves away from the rule that a monster is scarier if you don’t show it, and when it does happen the end result is usually not particularly effective. That said, this one works really well, and presents the monsters to you without too much hesitation. The creature design is pretty creepy, and it seems to blend CGI and great make up into one. There’s this strange damp, gross aesthetic to much of the movie as well, and it really does make the movie effectively creepy and gross. It’s nice to see an original idea push to try new things with this movie, especially as the number of remakes and total fucking disasters continues to outnumber the success stories in the horror genre these days .

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If you’re looking for something new and original, you could do a lot worse than this one. It’s effectively scary, and very watchable. It certainly hasn’t put me off seeing this directors remake of The Crow, and I’d say this one is absolutely worth your time. Feel free to comment and let me know what you thought of this one, and make suggestions for new horror movies you’d like to see me review!

RATING: ****

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