‘The Hallow’ is Body Horror Meets Ecological Terror (31 Days of Horror Movies You Missed Pt 14/31)

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer

This October I decided to watch and review some of those great horror movies (31 to be exact) that I missed on their initial release. And for Part 14 of my series of the 31 OF THE BEST HORROR MOVIES YOU (MAY HAVE) MISSED we will be checking out body horror The Hallow. Let’s get to it:

Day 14 of 31: The Hallow (2015)

Just a pleasant walk in the woods. I’m sure nothing bad will happen

Director: Corin Hardy

Starring: Joseph Mawle, Bojana Novakovic, Michael Smiley, Michael McElhatton

IMDb Trivia:  The practical VFX were influenced by Alien (1979) (the use of lighting) and Planet of the Apes (2001) (augmentation with CGI).

Plot: A family who moved into a remote mill house in Ireland finds themselves in a fight for survival with demonic creatures living in the woods.

Listen to the song of my people…

Review: I’ve read so many stories of tourists who unwittingly or, worse yet, deliberately destroy the places they visit. If only one of those places was The Hallow.

At its core The Hallow is an ecological tale of terror. A family moves to a remote house in the wildlands of Ireland. The husband Adam (Joseph Mawle) is a conservationist who studies plant and fungal life, and while on a walk through the forest he happens on a fungus that he decides to take samples of. The locals are not pleased by Adam, his wife Claire (Bojana Novakovic) nor their baby boy Finn moving into the house, with a man named Colm straight up telling them to make like a Jordan Peele movie and Get Out, but Adam isn’t deterred.  One night it appears as if someone tried to break into Finn’s room via a window. They call the police who aren’t all that helpful but they do tell the couple that legend has it the surrounding woods are inhabited by fairies, banshees and baby stealers, creatures the locals call “The Hallow”.

In the immortal words of Paris Hilton, ‘That’s Hot’

I won’t spoil the rest for you, but I will say I enjoyed watching a movie where the creatures weren’t your average “monsters” found in horror movies. Irish folklore is on full display here and utilised in terrifying ways to great effect. You may be familiar with some of it with things like changelings and fairies popping up, but it’s always fun when a movie such as this utilises the less-familiar myths and legends as you’ll be more invested in seeing what they can do. The story feels like a mix of a home-invasion thriller and a body horror with some solid effects works and cinematography bringing them to life.

The cast mainly consists of our two leads and both do a solid job of investing you in their stories. Joseph Mawle as husband Adam is the kind of character you’ll probably enjoy watching get tortured a bit; he’s the know-it-all who isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. The sort that looks down on people he deems less educated, with the irony being he’s the one who’s a fish-out-of-water here. His wife is constantly trying to get him to listen to no avail, and of course things go as well as you would expect.

HEREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE’S JOHNNY!

The least fun aspect of this movie was the set-up though, as we take some time to get into the meat and potatoes of the story. It’s of course necessary to give us an idea of the kind of people we’re dealing with, but it does slow the pacing down and I would say I enjoyed the middle and final acts a lot more than the opening.

Director Corin Hardy cited films like The Fly and The Thing (my personal favourite) as influences in the making of this movie, and I can see why. The effects here are really well-done and the body horror is some of the more impressive seen in recent years. With some great gory bits and a wonderful blend of practical and special effects I can’t help but admire what he pulled off here as I’ve seen movies with much larger budgets that completely tanked when it came to the effects (Alien Covenant anyone?) Overall, The Hallow is an enjoyably creepy movie that takes aim at those who don’t respect the cultures and beliefs of others. A solid addition to anyone’s October horror viewing, check it out and remember the next time you’re on vacation, a little respect goes a long way.  

Sommer’s Score: 6.5 out of 10

You can check out Part 13 of my 31 Days List and Korean zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead below as well as my review of environmental horror Gaia.

‘ONE CUT OF THE DEAD’ IS A HILARIOUSLY META ZOMCOM
SOUTH AFRICAN FILM ‘GAIA’ IS A TRIPPY ENVIRONMENTAL HORROR

2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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