For Article Wednesday, we will be taking a look at a film that has been making crimson waves at the indie film circuit since January. The Hallow is a UK horror film based around Irish folklore of evil fairies/creatures that live in remote wooded areas and have a taste for feasting on human flesh, particularly babies. Once under the ever-so-generic title The Woods, the relationship drama-turned-creature feature-turned-body horror piece is making an impression on most everyone who watches it. There are several signs, beyond the intriguing trailer, that make this film appear to be a hit. Let's dive into those reasons.
Firstly, the film's reception thus far is a refreshing blend of compliments in regards to the effects work, building of atmosphere, and directing. I consider this a promising outlook for the film, primarily because reviewers are avoiding the cliche takes like "scariest movie I've seen in a decade", "move over Alien!", or "not for the faint of heart". Such lines have so over-saturated the public that they now hold the connotation of mainstream blunders. Yet, this film is holding a quiet, steady thumbs up from nearly every viewer. A good horror film that wasn't meant to blow minds or stop hearts.
Secondly, the director's passion. This cliche can actually be referenced in nearly every job. "He's just a hard worker" or "he really has a passion for this and that" and that's what separates him from the rest. No, not exactly. Many people have the passion, but few have the means and creativity to successfully pull it off. Director Corin Hardy has gone out of his way to make sure that the film reflects inspirations he is pulling from. He focused a great deal on the effects work by retrieving a talent akin to Stan Winston, and lighting design to give the creatures an impact in the vein of Alien. This importance to finding talent beyond one's self is key to making a good film.
Thirdly, UK indie horror is the art house of horror. If you include distant cousin Australia, the UK spews out indie horror flicks with drama, flare, and cinematography at a standard that puts American PG-13 mainstream and quirky B-class 80s homages to shame. This film's trailer appears to be following the trend, though I have small doubts.
The originiality isn't there in the glimpses shown. The trailer gives little evidence this film is going to stand out in any capacity. Child-eating creatures that creep in the dark isn't exactly fresh, and said creatures lurking in the shadows, slowly closing in on our protagonists is a methodical pattern used time and time again. Yet, there is a lighting, atmosphere, and style established that makes the film look like it will take a quality approach to the material, even if it isn't entirely fresh.
Heck, I'm still looking for a good creature feature to take the bad taste in my mouth left over from Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Considering del Toro's hand in the film, it was surprising how poor that film was overall. It had no puncture beyond the screen, and the creatures lacked the tangibility commonplace in del Toro's works. Which makes you wonder, when Hardy says this film is "Straw Dogs meets Pan's Labyrinth", is it an omen of "finally doing it right" or a caution of repeat failures? Only time will tell, when Efrit and I are able to get our eyes on it.