Christian Robshaw takes a look at Corin Hardy’s new horror…
When Adam (Joseph Mawle) and Clare (Bojana Novakovic) move into a crumbling house in rural Ireland, they don’t expect spooky goings-on, which is really short-sighted of them. Adam likes to get high and study the cordyceps fungus. You know the one. It’s the one that turns ants into zombies. You know the one. Right? Right. Then if you’re paying any attention at all, you’ll realise that’s a piece of foreshadowing, and not too subtle a one either. Someone’s getting brain-controlled at some point.
The horror-movie atmosphere builds, with the run-ins with bizarre locals. You’ll know these locals, too – the paranoid old rich guy and the brazenly incompetent cop. “This isn’t London”, he tells the couple after they’ve had a brick through the window, “there are no things that go bump in the night.” And that’s a damned lie and we all know it, because what kind of horror would this be if nothing went bump in it? He might as well not have put in an appearance at all – the supporting performances are uniformly noncommittal, in terms both of their writing and their performance and, since none of the secondary characters ever impact the plot meaningfully, the film could easily have removed them altogether and benefitted from it, taking us further into the claustrophobic character study The Hallow occasionally gestures toward.
Those gestures do have to remain only occasional, because in the meantime there’s a lot of bumping in the night to be done, and before too long the couple are besieged by nasty little bog imps after their baby. They want to replace it with a changeling, you see, though given that the imps – including their little changelings – are shown to explode gruesomely on contact with sunlight, you might find yourself questioning how long the switcheroo was supposed to fool the parents for; I’m no pædiatrician, but I don’t think regular children do blow up like that.
But who cares for realism when they look so cool blowing up? The screenplay is aggressively standard, but director Corin Hardy – tipped to direct the remake of The Crow – brings a real visual flair to his own lacklustre script, and when it comes to the special effects, Bowsie Workshop just go absolutely wild. There remains little to recommend The Hallow on the human side, nothing in the script or the performances, but as a purely visual treat the second half is hard to beat.
The Hallow opens in the UK today (13th November)! Will you be checking it out? Let us know in the comment box below!