This isn’t London, things go bump in the night!
Year Released : 2015
Director : Corin Hardy
Cast : Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic
I figure whilst I have got limited time today I would review a film that I saw at a film festival earlier in 2015, saving on time that I don’t otherwise have.
I had heard a lot about the Hallow leading up to seeing and heard it was very similar to another recent horror film called The Babadook, which is arguably one of the best and most original horror films of recent years. If it had considerably less votes on IMDB then I would love to review that, but it doesn’t so I can’t.
My only trepidation going into The Hallow was that it looked very samey as a lot of other horror films, but I sincerely hopes that it wouldn’t be the case, and I hoped that I would have been proved wrong.
Please note that it has been a while since I watched the film and therefore my memory of it might be a bit wrong, so I apologise in advance if any information is incorrect.
Adam (Mawle), Claire (Novakovic) and their son move from London to a small community in Ireland for a more peaceful life, and an more secluded place for Adam to carry out his conversationalist experiments. They do have issues with Colm (Donnelly), one of the neighbours, and automatically blame him when someone breaks a window, although there is no evidence to suggest that it’s him. Whilst out taking pictures of the window evidence, Adam fails to notice a pair of eyes hiding in the woods.
Whilst Adam is in town collecting repair supplies before struggling to make it back safely, Colm visits Claire and hands her a book. Adam’s car finally breaks down and whilst he is checking out what the issue might be, he is forced into the car’s boot by an unseen force and he only just makes it out in time to save his son from being kidnapped, again by someone that can’t be seen. When he eventually makes it home, the pair find their electricity being cut off and they decide to run to their car and make an escape, but things are rarely that easy.
They barely escape in the car as they are stalked by animalistic beings and they have to eventually retreat to the house, although Adam is shot in the eye by something. As they think they have escaped the worst of it, Adam soon becomes consumed by paranoia and he is convinced that his soon is a changling, not helped by that he himself is changing into a demon.
How much longer can Claire keep him safe?
So, is it like the Babadook?
It’s very hard to compare the films in all honesty so it is a bit odd that some people did. The reason for this is that they are very difficult types of film and have very different stories, however, there are definitely a lot of the same types of horror used that I appreciate, and the majority of it comes from that they don’t seem to rely on the most common types of horror cliches.
I’ve mentioned a few times that horror films these days rely too much on jump scares and accompany it with a sharp noise, and it’s more of the noise rather than what’s on screen that gets you. However, neither Babadook or The Hallow did that. They rely on building tension in a natural way rather than trying to force it on you, and most importantly it tries to build the characters correctly and methodically.
The horror elements to the film are simple and well presented, such as when Adam and Claire are in a car that they can’t start, they look behind them and that is suddenly a group of the demons slowly making their way towards them. It’s so simple and yet so effective. It’s a similar scene to one of my favourite scenes in my the recently reviewed Hidden.
More importantly it gets the pacing right. The characters are allowed to develop, then a lot of stuff happens for ten minutes, you get a rest where the characters can change based on what they now know, and then more stuff. This allows you to also take this in as an audience member and you get to appreciate the story a lot more as the paranoia of the two characters with regards to the safety of their son gets bought into question, especially when Adam is adamant that he is actually a changling.
I must admit that I was a bit bored after the first few minutes but it soon gets going , and although there are a few bits that drag throughout the film, in the majority it is very well executed, exciting and nerve wracking, especially as Adam starts to get taken over by the demons.
Overall I can’t think of any of anything majorly negative to say about the film and that’s why this review is ultimately shorter than usual.
It certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it worked on many levels and I get the feeling that if you liked The Babadook then you will like The Hallow. It is similar in it’s approach to horror and it feels like it’s progressing nicely, giving you a chance to breath and think about what has happened before the next level of action comes around.
The Hallow is a decent horror film that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard.