Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: The Hallow

of 6 viewers "Liked" "The Hallow" (Ireland, 2015)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

Lord Battle - "The Hallow is a home invasion film staring a meaner type of Gremlin. This is another one of those horror films that is technically great but parts of the story implode. What I mean is that it works so well you can't help but really hate dumb characters, like Micah in Paranormal Activity. And Adam chose to smoke weed over calming a threat to his family... He also didn't use his flaming scythe enough." - 3.5 Stars

Speed Demon - "At first I liked this film but the more I thought bout it I realized I don't.
First half was super interesting but then it becomes very disappointing. Way too many why's and what's for me and this really starts to take affect during the second half of the film. I wish they would have explained the Hallow more significantly! They tease you with "oh it's a fairytale".. Ok well let's see some damn back story on the fairytale. I'd have to say my favorite thing in this film were the mini Pumpkinhead-like creatures running causing havoc. Cool idea and story but should have been executed better." - 3 Stars

Dabbles - "I admit I was scared a lot. But WTF, the characters annoyed me. The only thing I really liked was the one guy who warns them, and something that burns, watch and see." - 3 Stars

Math Mage - "'Environmentalism is stupid cause nature is horrible.' Reminiscent of Leprechaun Origins except not terrible." - 3 Stars 

Huntress -"The Hallow starts off pretty somber but definitely does not stay that way; the story has some very tense moments that are made all the more nerve wracking by the presence of a baby. I loved all the settings used in the film, from the rustic old house to the overgrown forest, both of which worked well with the tone of the film. I'm happy to have The Hallow in my collection." - 4 Stars

The Creature of the ComiCombs - "This film started off great. I really enjoyed how things were building up but the second half just fell a bit flat for me. A few things seemed to happen for the sake of moving the plot along and just didn't make sense. While not a perfect film, it sets itself apart enough to put its shortcomings aside until the credits roll." - 3 Stars

The Impostor - "The Hallow starts off slow and picks up in its second act with a few genuinely frightening scenes. Acting was nicely done and the effects and makeup used were really good. While this film is predictable at times and nothing new is brought to the genre, I still enjoyed it. Overall this Irish bedtime story/fairy tale kept me entertained, I'd definitely recommend giving it a watch." - 3 Stars


The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Our film opens on a primeval forest. As our camera crawls along the lush undergrowth and passes deer grazing, we begin to approach a small cave. The cave appears ominous yet obviously is in symmetry with the forest and wildlife. After the title sequence we see a family on a boat, but this is no simple vacation as their baby, dog, and car loaded with belongings is on board too. This family is moving somewhere far. They drive off the boat and into the countryside while listening to reports of unhappy locals threatening to fight to protect their forest. The next shot finds us with Adam (the father) who is painting X’s on a bunch of trees. It is now painfully clear that he's scouting a treeline to cut down. We then jump back and forth from Clare, who is in the process of removing bars from a very old looking house, and Adam, who has taken the baby and dog on a scouting trip in the woods. As Clare is visited by some threatening looking strangers Adam discovers an odd looking corpse of an animal that oddly resembles our primordial deer from the very opening...

The reason I’ve painstakingly retraced our steps through the opening sequence is simple; it’s awesome! The amount of setup we get from this mostly silent montage is not only effective but beautifully shot by Martijn Van Broekhuizen. And it’s important that these opening shots look beautiful and serine, since as an audience we should feel for the family. Not completely side with them, but at least sympathize with them.

John Carpenter often speaks about how all horror falls into two categories that relate to humanity's tribal instinct. In this case we are dealing with outsiders (the Hitchens) who are invading an ancient land with the intention of stealing its resources. Of course this story isn’t as black and white as that and with little flourishes in the opening, like the baby’s pacifier falling in the creek, we tend to sympathise with the nuclear family out of place. I mean the family ends up dealing with outsiders also, just these ones aren’t even human.

The Pumpkin Head-esque creatures of legend we see in this film seem to be a type of fairyfolk distorted by the need to defend their home. Now the cave in the intro seems to imply that these little ones have always been evil, just never needed defend their land. This has always been a missed opportunity in my mind, since we as a community have a lot of love for monsters (thanks to auteurs like Guillermo Del Toro and Fred Dekker) but we’ve never delved into the dark petty nature of these creatures, at least not the fairy kind.

One of my favorite things about The Hallow is the stealing of the baby but this doesn’t mean Lord Battle likes to see children kidnapped. What it means is the dungeon crawling greedy nature in this adventurer wants ancient tombs holding evil secrets and monsters that will steal your child and replace it with one of their own for no better reason than to play a prank.

-Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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