Watcher Beware! Graphic, but not remotely realistic death of a baby; offscreen death of a dog; moderate gore throughout, specifically connected to the eyes; not-great treatment of women on the whole.
Well, fellow monsters… this is the first entry to Ghoul’s Errand that I’m almost certain will give me nightmares later. I can’t give The Hallow an unqualified recommendation- some of the imagery is that disturbing- but it’s easily an 8.5 out of ten.
The elevator pitch for The Hallow must have been something like “The Evil Dead meets Celtic fairy tales”. The frenetic pace and strong adherence to Murphy’s Law is lifted right from the former, with Irish bogeymen in place of Kantarian demons. Combating the baddies even comes down to reading from an old, magical book.
Unique to The Hallow is an understated, believable married couple and their incredibly well-behaved baby. Adam, some kind of botanist channeling Jack Torrance, has moved his little family to a cottage in the middle of the forest for research. Claire keeps house and minds baby Finn, and turns up with her husband to keep the Problem with No Name at bay. They’re adorable and we’re jealous of them. Their only apparent issues are a rude neighbor who broke their window and the moisture causing increasing damage to the house’s structure.
Little by little, bits of vegetation begin leaking into their house along with the water. They increase in size and intricacy, knotted to the extent that the plant is no longer identifiable. Claire finds one about the size of, say, an infant in Finn’s bed, and the fun officially begins.
The Hallow relies heavily on horror tropes, but at a pace that will keep you guessing, seeming to get them all out of the way within the first half. It’s also easily the prettiest movie I’ve seen this year, with sets balanced equally between lush and claustrophobic. Seriously, check out these screenshots.
Weird, wonderful, unforgettable- but not the best. Pretend it’s a B movie and you’ll leave thrilled.