The Hallow


Reviewed by: Luke Shaw

The Hallow
"There’s plenty of the pre-requisite tension, and the monsters are designed well and deployed with restraint."

It’s not often that a credit roll over the intro film raises an eyebrow because of a cast and crew splash, but when a horror film has an ‘animatronic operator’ on screen in the first five minutes, it’s worth sitting up for. Luckily, it the anticipation is not in vain, as The Hallow revels in its gruesome, glistening menagerie.

Steeped in Irish folklore, this creature-feature has a few twists that make it more interesting than your average horror flick. Adam (Joseph Mawle) trespasses on sacred ground, and the banshees and baby snatchers that live therein take umbrage and threaten the safety of their son and his wife, Clare (Bojana Novakvic). There’s also a neat little diversion through parasitic fungi as an attempt at rationalising the happenings, but that doesn’t stop the SFX crew from ladeling on the goo and hideous knotted wood that heralds the arrival of these fairytale fiends.

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There’s plenty of the pre-requisite tension, and the monsters are designed well and deployed with restraint, mainly appearing on the fringes of the frame, illuminated by probing torch beams and camera flashes. When they are under the scrutiny of less obstructed shots, the monsters hold up especially well, better than many underwhelming CGI entities. This attention to detail holds up to the set design as well, which plays with its rustic folkore roots.

Despite all of the positives, the pacing is a little lacking, and this eventually works against the film as it begins to present a few too many padded scenes that fail to add tension or rhythm. A prolonged - but deliciously grizzly - transformation that demands one of the pair spends a lot of time separated from the other results in an uneven final act.

Also, with such a small cast, it is a shame that Clare seems to be written without any inspiration at all. Considering how the tale progresses, there would have been plenty of room for her to develop into a resolute lead. Still, practical effects are a novelty that carries this film beyond its competent but ultimately safe premise.

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2015
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When a visiting conservationist accidentally trespasses in an ancient wood, its denizens set their sights on his family.
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Director: Corin Hardy

Writer: Corin Hardy, Felipe Marino

Starring: Bojana Novakovic, Joseph Mawle, Michael Smiley, Michael McElhatton, Charlotte Williams

Year: 2015

Runtime: 97 minutes

Country: UK

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