The Hallow not without its merits was little more than a horror movie rich in influence but lacking in execution. It failed to deliver any fresh twists to the horror genre or even in the story, even as a straightforward monster thriller it failed to stimulate, thanks to creature designs that were frankly old fashioned and the lack of any sympathetic characters.
Like so many before it, our movie opens with the Hitchens family, a trio of city-folk relocating to a remote Irish village, for some less than clear motives, with their newborn Finn tagging along for the ride.
Almost immediately we’re met the realisation that the main character Adam Hitchens, played by the talented Joseph Mawle, is going to be both infuriating, irresponsible and a bad father.
For some reason, our main character is a conservationist and this requires that he takes his newborn baby into the woods to study paramedic fungi or something as equally ridiculous. All the while joined by their trust dog.
It is never really explained why baby Finn tags along with Adam as our female lead, Clare Hitchens portrayed by the beautiful and accomplished Bojana Novakovic, stays at home and… removes safety features from around the home? Logic dictates that a family in that situation would opt to keep the baby at home, AWAY from the potentially deadly bacteria the father is exploring.
The first discovery we see Adam make is that of a rotting calf carcass attached to a wall by an X-Files reminiscent black oil. A possibly pathogenic residue, to which his first reaction is, I’m going to go view and poke these potentially lethal remnants with my baby.
The parents seem less than worried when a similar and potentially brain altering substance leaks into their baby’s crib, ’I’ll just move his bed’.
The family is warned(in the most sinister way possible), by their ominous neighbour farmer Colm Donnelly, played by Game of Thrones’ Michael McElhatton. We never really get any context as to why Colm seems hellbent on terrorising the family, but he warns that the choice of the new heavily armoured and secluded abode makes the new family a target for malevolent forces, who dwell in the encroaching woods and specifically, and again for unexplained reasons, prey on children. We never really get any context as to why Colm seems hellbent on terrorising the family.
They introduce the idea of Irish faerie folklore mythology quite early on, which in my opinion wasn’t focused on enough. We never really got a true sense of the living underworld the characters were supposed to have moved into. It was like a lazily attempted reference to the races/species from True Blood. The whole village is like something out of HotFuzz, the police took very little interest in the family’s complaints after a window in the baby’s room was smashed, furthermore, they suggested that the villagers are in on the secret of these creatures. The neighbours weren’t introduced properly, there could have been a lot more meat there. I think this was done on purpose, as a potential for a prequel. Don’t even get me started on how stupid I thought ‘Cora’ was!
I honestly felt like this movie was the creation of three very different directions/ideas that were pushed together in some sort of last minute school art project. It reminded me of a mixture of The Babadook(a recent favourite of mine) and the horror It Follows, in that it emphasised effects over storyline and filling in plot holes.
We are led to believe that the couple is intelligent adults, but they are the most infuriating sort of horror movie characters. They make unrealistic leaps of logic, investigate noises, remove protection, open doors and isolate themselves repeatedly. The decisions made by Adam and the conclusion of Clare to go along with them, lead us to the contrary – That these characters are idiots. The film relies on unrealistic decision making to move the story along, which made it hard to remain sympathetic towards the characters.
And I knew to expect it from the get go, but the dog was killed/possessed by the goo, and this pissed me off more than expected. It seemed pointless and slightly heartbreaking to have it consumed towards the end. That collie dog was the best actor and character in the film.
There are very few film genres I don’t enjoy horror, thriller, comedy you name it. And this sort of movie can be fun, but the overall tone suggests we are to take it otherwise.
Let us not forget to ask: ‘Who did they buy the house off of, and what happened to them?’