Monday, April 18, 2016

Film Review: The Hallow (2015)

The Hallow (Review)
Ireland/United Kingdom/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The plot is very disappointing and there are some dull patches here, but this creature feature often excels in its suspense and special effects."

A family moves into a remote house in the woods and finds themselves tormented by the creatures of the Hallow...

The Hallow is a fairly simple film Рwhich is utterly disappointing. The plot follows a small family: Adam (Joseph Mawle), a conservationist, his wife, Clare (Bojana Novakovic), and their baby, Finn. The family moves into a forest preparing for deforestation. The locals, of course, are angered by Adam's work. They warn him of trespassing into the Hallow and the dangers he faces. He shrugs the warnings off, refusing to depart. Eventually, his family is attacked by some demonic creatures in the woods. So, the fight for survival ensues. Although clich̩, the second act isn't half-bad. It starts to head into some strange territory for the finale, though. I'd say it was a bit silly, really. The ending, which partially dips into the credits, was okay. I didn't hate it, I didn't love it.

The Hallow isn't a bad film – not at all. It's just not a very entertaining or engaging film at times. There are some moments where it can put you at the edge of your seat, others where you'll marvel at the special effects, then there are those where you'll doze off. Unfortunately, the 'doze off' scenes are far too consistent. Every time the film picked up its pace, I felt like there was always something insignificant there to slow it down. The boredom mostly occurs during the first half due to a lack of proper buildup. There are some suspenseful scenes, sure, but the film never properly develops its concept. You keep hearing "don't go into the Hallow," "when you trespass on the Hallow, the Hallow trespasses on you," and all of these ominous warnings, but you never hear any detailed lore. Aside from some mumbling and some glimpses at a book, it never really comes back to it, either. So, what you're really getting is just another creature feature at a secluded location. As much as some people would say otherwise, it doesn't revive or change the genre in any way.

The acting was good, though. I felt Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic delivered great performances. The pair conveyed horror very well. The supporting cast, although limited, was also decent. The film looked great and I enjoyed the music. The special effects are a mixture of practical and CGI. You can see they put a lot of effort into the effects, and it really pays off. There are some great looking creatures and visuals in this film. If you're a fan of special effects, then you'll likely enjoy this film's visuals. The Hallow is written by Corin Hardy and Felipe Marino; Hardy also directs. I felt the writing missed out on a lot of opportunities to flesh out the concept and characters, which ultimately made this film less effective than it could have been. In terms of direction, the film is stylish, suspenseful, and competently-crafted, which makes the disappointment harder to bear.

Overall, The Hallow is a decent film. The plot is very disappointing and there are some dull patches here, but this creature feature often excels in its suspense and special effects. It didn't leave much of an impression, especially due to the tedious first half, but it was a decent time killer by the end. If you have Netflix and need to 90 minutes, you might find enjoyment in this one.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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