the Euro. Since Ireland no longer controls its own monetary policy, it has been
forced to sell off its national forest to pay down its budget deficit. To
facilitate the sale to a lumber concern, a young forester has temporarily
relocated his wife and infant son to remote cabin in the woods. The fae people
are none too happy about it, but they would probably be after their baby anyway,
because that’s what they do. Dread runs like thick goey sap in Corin Hardy’s The Hallow, which screens during the
2015 Sundance Film Festival.
forest is deep, dark, and verdant. Adam Hitchens thinks he is in his element,
so he has no qualms about tromping about with his rug rat strapped to his back.
Gee, that dropped pacifier sure looks ominous though. Seriously, why doesn’t he
just put in ad in the Faery Times that
says: “plump baby available for abduction.”
hardly has time to toke up at home before things start going bump in the night.
Initially, he and his wife Claire assume it is the work of angry farmer Colm
Donnelly, who bitterly resents Hitchens’ reason for being there. However,
things escalate to a level that is difficult to ascribe to a human agency. Of
course, by this point, Claire has already pried the iron bars off the windows.
You might wonder why the previous tenant of Victim Cottage felt compelled to
put them up in the first place, but not these Londoners. Similarly, he does not
think twice about bringing some cool “zombie” tree fungus into hearth and home.
and cinematographer Martijn van Broekhuizen are strong on atmosphere, so it is
a bit of shame the film rushes so quickly into supernatural bedlam. A slower
build would have yielded stronger results. He and co-screenwriter Felipe Marino
promise a lot of ancient archetypal folklore, but aside from some changeling
business, they keep the night terrors relatively conventional. Hardy is also a
bit too frugal with Michael Smiley, whose craggy badassery livens up his one
scene as Davey, the local Garda (“I’m from Belfast, we had a different sort of
the locations and set design are massively creepy and the ectoplasmic body
horror is suitably grotesque. As the Hitchens, Game of Thrones alumnus Joseph Mawle comes across as a bit of a pathetically
underwhelming environmental hipster (is there any other kind?), while Bojana
Novakovic flashes some welcome assertiveness. Much like Smiley, Michael
McElhatton also adds some memorably cranky local color as the sour Donnelly.
For genre fans, The Hallow gets the job done, but it raises expectations early on
that it will be somewhat more than it is. Ticket holders should note, rather
than a stinger per se, a long parting sequence runs throughout the closing
credits, building to a final, quiet gotcha shot. An okay excursion into the
evil woods, The Hallow is recommended
for those who want to maximize the “Park City at Midnight” experience when it
screens tonight (1/31) in Salt Lake, as part of this year’s Sundance Film
Labels: Body Horror, Changelings, Horror Movies, Irish Cinema, Sundance '15