The Hallow (2015)

The Hallow transports us through a dark and menacing fairy tale. A moody atmospheric horror fantasy with real emotion and clever set pieces, this slow burner wastes no time in showcasing its practical effects.

 Corin Hardy’s directorial debut is an interesting mishmash of traditional Irish folklore with an alluring blend of body horror. A creature feature with a bit of heart, this ambitious monster movie is simple, but creepy.

Adam Hitchens (Joseph Mawle) has just moved his family into any isolated house, bordering the edge of a shrouded forest. The natives warn the family from poking around the woods, but upon discovering a mysterious black fungus, Adam and his family soon find themselves fighting for survival with the demonic creatures of the woodlands.

This dark blend of folklore legend with a dash of real science, creates a clever story with an engaging first act, evoking an aura of mystery and suspense. Its grungy atmosphere effortlessly jumps right into monster mania. With a minimal budget to work with Hardy’s woodland creatures are a welcomed display of practical and digital effects. With shades of District 9, the effects are darkly unnerving, those who can not handle eye trauma may need to look away. Gritty and unsettling, the makeup has you on the precipice of wanting to look away. The use of set pieces also creates an unnerving backdrop for the film. The dilapidated home, the looming forest, all suggest something dark and unsettling standing just out of frame.

The films pace is quick to action, allowing no dead air, at the same time this sacrifices a backstory for our main characters. Therefore, losing what could have been a powerful emotional punch for the final act. Michael McElhattons cameo, as disgruntled neighbour Colm, is fleetingly sparse as well, an unfortunate opportunity lost.

As a whole, The Hallow is an enjoyable entry into the body horror fantasy genre. With its fresh take on the folklore legends, this film offers unique flavours of obscurity.

7.5 / 10

“So are you a believer?”

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