With a few exceptions, the Hollywood horror film genre is littered with utter rubbish. It is all too rare that I come across a horror flick that is worthy of the 90 minute time investment. Even rarer are the Hollywood horror films that are worth the time and price of theature admission. Although, sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by a horror film that decides to do things differently, and succeeds on its execution. “The Hallow” is a film which steers clear of typical horror film tropes to deliver a unique and entertaining experience that is worth the time and price of admission.
The premise of “The Hallow” closely follows a British family’s encounter with the realization of old Irish folk-tales. Taking place in a forested rural town in Ireland, the recently settled family quickly come to the realization that something rather wicked and unnatural is tormenting their family. As the film progresses the family’s situation rapidly grows from bad to worse, over the time-span of less than 2 days. The quickness from which the film’s events lead into one another adds a welcomed thriller-esque flavor to the often slow-paced horror genre.
The film’s pacing is perhaps its greatest and most satisfying achievement. Where other horror films waste time with meaningless filler scenes to help bolster their few “scare” scenes; “The Hallow” instead opts to throw as many abhorrent situations at the protagonists, the British family, as reasonably possible. The end effect is a thriller-esque pacing that avoids wasting the audiences’ time with filler scenes. It feels as if you are given the same brief time to understand the events, as they are occurring, as the protagonists themselves. The end result is characters that you believe are making the correct decisions as they are encountering new events/situations. The well-written characters and how they react and adapt to each scenario that is encountered results in smart behavioral decisions which are all-the-more believable to the audience.
“The Hallow” should be applauded for its fantastic pacing of the story. Since the pacing is faster than other horror films there is an almost relentless number of dire situations which ensures your attention is kept throughout the entire film. Aside from the films pacing and believable characters, however, you won’t find much else in the film that warrants high praise. But, that is not to say that these other elements of the film are bad; far from it. The other elements of the film like musical score, special effects, etc are around average quality. Most important is that they do not detract from the film, or the aspects of the film which succeed so well. I strongly recommend watching “The Hallow” as it is one of the few horror films that’ll entertain you regardless of whether it can scare you.
– JUSTe Jonny