Hollow (aka Dunwich) Movie Review
Written by John Colianni
Released by Tribeca Film
Directed by Michael Axelgaard
Written by Matthew Holt
2011, 89 minutes, Not Rated
VOD release on September 19th, 2012
Emily Plumtree as Emma
Sam Stockman as James
Jessica Ellerby as Lynn
Matt Stokoe as Scott
Can we talk about something and get it out of the way, just this one time? Out of all the vacations, family outings, random get togethers and excursions that any one of us has ever been on, who the hell has a camera rolling for days at a time? Nothing I've ever done has been so captivating and incredible that it has warranted the use of a subpar handycam to document every single moment. We all know people like this who have nothing else better to do than to ruin the fun of everyone else by shining a giant incandescent bulb in your face while you're busy summoning spirits from an evil tree on the countryside of England. They're so damn inconsiderate. So, with all of that said, let's talk about Michael Axelgaard's Hollow.
It starts as most found footage films do, introducing the bare bones cast of twenty-somethings, who are embarking on their journey to explore the mystery behind some ancient tree that is supposedly linked to a series of couples' suicides over the centuries. Honestly, and this might just be me, but if I've discovered that there was some ominous ficus offing dozens of people for no good reason, I'm probably going to leave it to some know-it- all experts and kindly book a less sinister vacation. The story progresses as our adventurers explore ruins near a church and speak to the local priest, who happens to be the least informative character that's ever been developed in the history of horror cinema. Creepiness gets amped up a little as time passes by, because something is surely about to happen, giving viewers a reason to keep watching, right? Let's not jump to any conclusions now.
By all standards, Hollow starts off looking and sounding great. The premise is nothing new, but is has a sort of realism that makes something like Paranormal Activity seems tack and unnecessary. Dialogue, which is particularly important for this type of setting, doesn't seem all that forced. For the most part, the camera isn't running for the hell of it. Sure, there may not be the character development and detailed relationships that this genre is always known for (painful sarcasm), but what do get is a wholesome, fun filled weekend of eminent doom and death, alongside our loved ones. A bit of tension builds between the couples, clearly showing that there may be a crossover of feelings, but it could have just been when they all did a ridiculous amount of cocaine and went running and screaming into the woods. Yeah, definitely the cocaine. That was it.
Hollow ends up suffering from many films in this genre have been afflicted with since The Blair Witch Project: too much build up. Everything exists that should make this an overall enjoyable cinematic experience, but what ends up happening is that there are way too many moments where there could have been a great scare, or at the very least painfully uncomfortable suspense. None of this ends up being delivered. There's the typical scene when the audience even finds out that one of the character's grandparents were somehow involved in all of this, not that it makes a bit of a difference in the long run. For a film that already has a running time of 89 minutes, to be waiting until the very end to see anything that is even remotely creepy is too much of a letdown. Let Hollow serve as another reminder of how to set the tone for this particular genre but also how to give everyone who is watching and waiting yet another massive case of blue balls.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.
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