A rural folk-horror that starts off strongly before losing its way in a mess of gooey effects, The Hallow really feels like a missed opportunity.

It’s still an entertaining watch, don’t get me wrong, and director Corin Hardy certainly has an eye for the genre.

But this could have been a much more effective outing if all concerned had gone for the ‘less is more’ approach.

Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic play husband-and-wife Adam and Clare Hitchens, who move to Ireland with their baby son due to Adam’s job.

Adam is a tree/forestation specialist, sent into the countryside as part of a forest-clearing project.

The locals don’t like this though, as they are convinced the woodland areas are ‘The Hallow’, an area that should be both feared and left well alone, due to it being the home of ‘bad fairies’.

So, as Adam pokes around the trees, we get plenty of ‘you shouldn’t be here’ talk from the locals, as well as windows being smashed and other threats.

Turns out these fairies like nothing better than snatching kids, and they may have Adam and Clare’s son Finn next on their menu…..

So far so good, and by this stage I had really bought into the film – eerie, with everything being suggested or glimpsed rather than shown, and plenty of fog for good measure.

In fact, it almost felt like an Irish riff on something like Picnic at Hanging Rock – which is most definitely a good thing.

But then Hardy feels the need to speed everything up, and we are getting scene after scene of beastly creatures, body mutations and other in-your-face effects.

It’s all very well done it must be said, but this was an occasion when the film was strong enough without having to fall back on gore.

Rawle and Novakovic make a believable couple, with Hardy’s and Felipe Marino’s script cutting gripes off at the pass by at least having them try to move out, rather than the ‘we going to ignore what’s happening and ride this out’ nonsense that often crops up in films of this ilk.

The Hallow also scores by having a real-life baby for most of the scenes involving Finn, as it lends an authenticity to what’s going on and certainly ramps up the fear factor.

The film is fast-paced, and you also get the likes of Michael Smiley cropping up in welcome smaller roles.

The Hallow will definitely get your attention, and you’re unlikely to be bored, but it doesn’t quite reach the standards it suggests it is aiming for in the opening half-hour.

 

Movie Review: The Hallow
3.0Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.