THE HALLOW (2015)
Directed by Corin Hardy
Young couple Adam and Clare Hitchens, along with their baby boy Finn, move from London into an old farmhouse in the middle of the countryside in Ireland. As a scientist, Adam’s job is to venture into the woods near their home to take samples from the trees, something which aggravates the locals. After threats from the neighbours about entering the woods, Adam and Clare assume that their Irish neighbours don’t look too fondly on English city folk moving into their territory but it seems they’re more bothered that Adam is trespassing on land that belongs to The Hallow – fairies, spirits, goblins; species of the woods. Not heeding the advice/veiled threat of neighbour Colm Donnelly, the Hitchens family soon discover the truth of The Hallow as they must fight for not only their own survival but that of their young son, Finn.
Corin Hardy’s feature length debut THE HALLOW is an incredibly atmospheric dark fairytale that will go down a treat with fans of rural horror such as The Wicker Man and Jugface. Delving into the fairytales of old, the film explores what could potentially live in the shadowy forest in the isolated countryside and what such creatures would want from a family such as the Hitchens. All we know is that the warnings from the locals hint at something which no human would want to mess with and they’re not wrong…
Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic star as Adam and Clare Hitchens respectively, with both giving a tremendous convincing performance of a loving couple looking forward to living a long and fruitful life in their country home as their son Finn grows up. The warnings from the locals seems to shake up Clare whilst Adam refuses to give in to peer pressure and denounces their warnings as mere threats to get them out of the house. As things intensify, the siuation between the couple becomes strained as each has an opposing belief as to what’s going on with Clare of the firm belief that their son is in danger and that there is indeed something in the woods stalking their family.
Setting much of the action in the old farmhouse, the tension and fear heightens to an uncomfortable state that you yourself become on edge for the Hitchens. What is outside and what do they want? As the threat looms nearer, the family begin to be prisoners in their own home as their house comes under attack, something which reminded me of the scenes in Straw Dogs. Being outside in the woodland is no better as the family are exposed to the creatures lurking in the darkness. Entering their domain, the creatures have an upperhand against their human prey.
With terrific character design and wonderful storytelling, Corin Hardy has produced a chilling living nightmare that would send shivers into the even the most hardened of spines. Such an eye for detail and with an expert ability to gradually build terrifying tension, I look forward to what other stories Corin Hardy has in store for us in the future.