The latest in a line of "found footage"
horror movies, Hollow
is a British film that follows the standard setup of purporting to be video footage (now police property, leaked somehow to the viewing public...hmmm...) of the events leading up to a horrendous crime, shot by victims who, often explicably, keep filming despite their imminent death. Is this what they mean by "money shot"?
Engaged couple Emma (Emily Plumtree) and Scott (Matt Stokoe) head to her recently deceased grandfather's cottage in rural Dunwich for a getaway. Along for the ride are Emma's childhood friend James (Sam Stockman) and his girlfriend Lynn (Jessica Ellerby), whose relationship is rocky thanks to James' enduring crush on Emma. Exploring the ruins of the nearby Greenfriars monastery, they learn from locals about the legend of a ghostly presence that has supposedly caused a glut of suicides of couples over the centuries. The evil entity seems to emanate from a sprawling tree with mysterious hollow interior, and as the curious quartet films the local area, they keep getting drawn back to that spot. What begins as lighthearted tourism soon turns into a game of life or death.
The End Result
L-R: Matt Stokoe, Emily Plumtree and Jessica Ellerby in 'Hollow'.Photo: Mark James © Tribeca Film
feels a bit like one of those "ghost hunters" TV shows where the people on screen tell you something is happening, but we don't actually see it and just end up just relying on their reactions to confirm something scary is out there. Whereas The Blair Witch Project
managed to be terrifying without showing anything supernatural on screen, Hollow
's half-baked mythology, uninspired fright sequences and bland, repetitive character interactions make this film ring, well, hollow. The concept of a mysterious presence coercing people to commit suicide is compelling, but it's underdeveloped, while the love triangle -- er, square -- of the four main characters is frankly OVERdeveloped, with each scene dragging out the exhausting feelings of lust, jealousy, betrayal, etc. at the expense of anything truly scary.
The cast is solid and delivers the sort of natural performances that are key to the found footage format, but it's hard to overcome the stagnancy and occasionally nonsensical nature of a script that has a character trapped inside a car by an evil entity unlock the door and step outside because she can't see it. Money shot!
- Acting: C+ (Solid, natural, believable.)
- Direction: C (Can't squeeze scares out of the situations; camerawork is at times frustrating.)
- Script: C- (There's a good skeleton of a ghost story, but the mythology isn't flushed out.)
- Gore/Effects: C (Not much to speak of.)
- Overall: C (A competent but bland and uneventful entry in the found footage fad.)
Hollow is directed by Michael Axelgaard and is not rated by the MPAA. Release date: September 19, 2012 (on demand).