Toronto After Dark 2015: ‘The Hallow’


By: Addison Wylie

The Hallow is made up of great parts that build towards a fleeting good time.  The adult audience gets as much satisfaction out of it as a toddler does with a mall’s mechanical horse.

Within the film’s undistinguished Irish town, the community unanimously agrees that the woods are not necessarily a great place to idle.  Their distain is brought out when a family of out-of-towners move to a secluded millhouse that happens to be located smack-dab in a danger zone.  The outsider snarls make Adam Hitchens (played by Joseph Mawle) and his wife Clare (played by Bojana Novakovic) defensive, but they soon discover why they’re receiving this treatment.

The Hallow doesn’t mess around.  Although the film is much more comfortable with a slow burn pace to build towards a shady atmosphere, things start going bump in the night rather quickly.  Filmmaker Corin Hardy and his astute crew of horror hounds provide plenty of nasty slime, props, prosthetics, and other miscellaneous make-up to give viewers a sense of its evil’s consistency.  The reveal towards what is actually tormenting the Hitchens’ is drawn out at a correct speed, and Hardy has fun teasing movie goers for the first act.

There are just as many knee-jerk scares as there are broiling ones.  However, the best frights happen when these two scares are combined.  There’s an intense sequence where Adam – while driving with his baby on board – freaks out when his car starts to fall apart.  His investigating only ties him up further without any protection for his son.  The payoff to the scene is just plain creepy.  Consider The Hallow for anyone who wanted to be more scared by Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

The performances, the music cues, the make-up, and the shadowy foreboding become heavier as The Hallow moves along;  amounting to results that raise the material somewhat higher, but not enough to relabel it a game changer.  At its core, it’s still a “cabin in the woods” type of movie.  However, as far as directorial debuts go, The Hallow is one of the stronger entries in the horror genre.  I’ll pop in another quarter to see Hardy’s next scare show.


The Hallow screens at Toronto After Dark on: 

Thursday, October 15 at 9:45 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre [SOLD OUT]
Saturday, October 17 at 11:59 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre

For more information on the festival, visit the official TAD webpage here.

Buy tickets here.

Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

Toronto After Dark: @TADFilmFest
Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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