Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Toronto After Dark ’15: The Hollow One
Being a scientist is sort of like a form of
original sin in horror movies. Linda Wade inherited that sin from her parents
in the form of a very sinister artifact. For years, she tried to protect her
own family, but when her well-meaning husband starts snooping into her past, he
stirs up a ferociously powerful force in Nathan Hendrickson’s The Hollow One (trailer here), which screens during
this year’s Toronto After Dark.
Michael Wade had two daughters with Linda, but
he literally did not know the first thing about her past. You might think he
would figure she had her reasons, but instead he hires a private detective at
the urging of his youngest, Anna. What he gets is a manila envelope full of field
notes and a pepper grinder from Hell. It seems Linda’s medallion fits rather
snuggly in the artifact. Unfortunately, Wade will not have much time to peruse
the material before dark malicious figures start tormenting him.
At least the Wade sisters were not around when
darkness fell over their home. Linda Wade tries to contain the damage, but to
no avail. Ironically, she will be fatally injured when she dashes in front of
Matt Hoffman’s car. He and Rachel Wade were a heavy item, but she refuses to
forgive him for her mother’s death. However, the tragedy leads the Wade sisters
away from the rural Washington State town for several years. When they finally
return, they find the place a veritable ghost town. What few zombie-like people
remain, including their apparently deranged father, have bizarre, ancient metal
disks affixed to the back of their necks. To get to the bottom of it all, they
will have to work with Hoffman, who was just finished serving his sentence for
has not played a lot of the big genre fests, it is one of the scariest
films currently in circulation. The ominous forces threatening the Wades are
not merely malicious. They are malevolent in a greater, metaphysical kind of
way. Probably the last horror film that dared to suggest an equivalently big,
evil picture was H.P. Mendoza’s I am a Ghost.
While the implications of Hollow are massively unsettling, the execution is also wickedly
effective. Hendrickson’s macabre visuals and the Exorcist-esque sound design are profoundly unsettling. Honest to
gosh, if this film does not give you the heebie-jeebies than you must have
absolute nerves of steel. Still, it is not quite the pinnacle of perfection.
Hendrickson often resorts to glaring contrivances for the sake of advancing his
narrative. Frankly, there are a few “oh, c’mon” moments in there.
Still, we can forgive such micro shortcomings,
because the macro whole is so blasted creepy. When the sisters and Hoffman
start investigating the wreckage of their former home, detail after little
detail will just set you on edge. Production designer Lisa B. Hammond and her
team did terrific work crafting the distinctive look of the film. The cast is
also uniformly consistent and credible. It should also be noted how much Tonya
Skoog and Kate Alden’s Rachel Wade look like mother and daughter.
A lot of scary things
have come out of Washington State, like Microsoft, so it is nice to see one
that is frightening in a good way. Hendrickson’s film will truly get into your
head and under your skin. Therefore highly recommended for horror fans, The Hollow One screens this Sunday
(10/18) as part of the 2015 Toronto After Dark.
Labels: Horror Movies, Toronto After Dark '15