A new family has moved into an old farmhouse deep in the Irish countryside and soon find themselves victims of an ancient evil that dwells in the woods.
“If you trespass upon them they’ll trespass upon you.”
Filmed in 2015 by director Corin Hardy and starring Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic. The Hallow is a surprisingly good film that made me think of a hybrid mix between Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth lore, The Village tone and and with a sudden surprise lover, Evil Dead 2 gore. It has an acceptable equilibrium of rich practical effects and computer graphics.
I’ve noticed that there is a certain niche for “fairytale” horror films in recent years. Mainly from foreign creators, these films feature ancient lore mixed in with modern settings. Most of which dabble in the themes of “man vs nature.” “Don’t go into those woods!” A common theme in most films. With the success of movies like Troll Hunter, Krampus and Thale, it’s no wonder that countries (Norway especially kicking balls right now) are reaching into their old fables and turning them into great horror flicks.
These are some greats.
Although there have been some stinkers.
The Hallow is a film that doesn’t necessarily stem from actual historical lore. The creatures are kind of a mix of trolls and changelings coincidentally called “the hallow.” At least that’s what I determined from the film. I’m not all familiar with those kinds of lore and fabled creatures. But what I do know is that I am a fan of this film. The story is easy to understand and the wonder of the creatures is enough to keep you nervous the entire film. It’s one of those films that will stir up a small sense of dread when walking through the woods.
The tone of the film is dark and rich. I love the old country house still standing on it’s original lumber and foundation. Surrounded by a dark mysterious woodland setting. I love the use of forest in horror films. Woods create an impossible repeating vastness in all directions and intends to kill any sense of safety. It’s the place in movies where people go to face the supernatural and it’s also often the place of transformation. The house seems to be the sanctuary away from the menace and maintains the central location throughout the movie. It’s the one thing that brings some sense of comfort throughout the film, until the defenses are take down that is.
There’s a disgusting creepiness to this film. From the gooey, bloody visuals, the heavy mucky syrupy dripping sounds. The terrifying creatures and effects it has on our victims minds. Everything maintains a terrifying unknown flavor and should gross out any normal person. Anyone that can’t handle visual eye trauma would probably feel a great sense of cringing during this film.
What I love about this film is it breaks the norm (often seen in crappy modern horror films) of featuring the single mother protecting her child. Yea I understand that the “mothers love” theme is strong and it makes sense and I do appreciate it. But dammit can we please just put that book on the shelf for a while!? Instead The Hallow gives us the father Adam, trying his best to protect his wife and child. I liked his anger, his endless pursuit to save what he loves most and his willing sacrifice of himself. It’s a good thing to see in a horror film.
Things escalate rather quickly and the last hour is a whirlwind of terror. To great build ups to intense well driven startles. Things just maintain a terrifying nail biting atmosphere. Our poor Adam is like a wilting flower. His pedals are being ruthlessly ripped out one by one. He looks like a ravaged sheep in a pack of wolves by the end. The focal point of the blood and gore. I felt so bad for this dude.
Like I said, there is an underlining message of man vs nature in this film. But this time it’s just because nature can be truly evil. There is no vengeance to the raping of nature. No reason to do what it does. People are actually minding their own business and showing an appreciation and care for the woods around them. It’s just sometimes nature is just a jerk and some people are unfortunate to catch its fury.
The Hallow is a great film with acute horror and outrageous gore. Anyone that is into a simple straight to the point story and an outstanding creature are in for a treat.