Synopsis – On holiday in the English countryside, two young couples uncover an ancient evil – Hollow
Director – Michael Axelgaard
Released – 2011
Sometimes you just stumble upon a great film, one of those cheap horror films that you spot at about number 30 on a DVD chart at the supermarket, 99% of the time they are just awful, but once every so often you find something that you love. Hollow is a found footage British horror, following two couples that have travelled to the cottage that Emma (Emily Plumtree) inherited after the death of her grandfather, situated in rural Suffolk, the four combine sorting through the former vicars belongings and sightseeing, whilst looking through some old files, they discover that there is an alarming amount of double suicides associated with the local monastery and the ominous tree that overlooks it.
The four attempts to find out more about the monastery, but even the local vicar is evasive when talking about the local area and the suicides, this means that when they stumble upon the monastery when making their way to the beach, they know not to avoid the area.
The film doesn’t delve too deep into the reasons why there is such a high number of suicide of couples, or who/what is driving them to death, but the tree is a major part of it, holding a strange presence over the four holidaymakers subtly changing their personalities, driving couples apart and fraying friendships, but no matter how hard they try, they keep getting drawn back to there, unable to break free from the hold it has on them, bringing out their innermost desires.
The film uses the camera to great effect, which is somewhere a lot of found footage horror movies fall down, it makes it something that they need, as one of the few pieces of equipment that is still working and their last remaining light source, though living in rural England, the lack of signal and vandalised phone boxes are commonplace, so I wouldn’t suggest demonic intervention every time, apart from when there are crosses painted in human blood on the windows, which is the part of the movie you really do start to see just how isolated they are, especially when you still don’t know what it is that they are running from.
To the films credit, keeping the identity of what it is that they are running from a secret, helps keep the suspense going, from the moment they first come across the monastery right up until the final shot, with the feeling of dread and fear growing as one by one the group start going missing, caused by unseen culprits and as it is a found footage film, the cast is small and it relies on the skills of the actors, which in this film, aren’t models, they are regular people, going for a normal holiday that goes wrong and when things do start to happen, they don’t jump straight to the conclusion that it is a demon, instead they try to be logical, right up until they are too scared to think straight, with the gradual building of fear best shown in the acting performances of Emily Plumtree, as she plays the confused, soon to be married Emma, who you really get the feeling that she really doesn’t know what to do when she catches her fiancee Sam kissing another woman, mixed in with worrying about the disappearance of James (Sam Stockman) her ex/ best friend who is now stuck in the friend zone and thinking of ways to break Emma and Scott up.
This film is far from a classic, with other reviews being less nice about it, which I can see where they are coming from, it’s not a classic and the lack of any delving into why things are happening can put people off, especially when found footage horror has grown into its own genre, I believe it is still worth the relatively cheap price for what is a perfectly good popcorn horror and helps keep the British horror tradition going, I just wish of a sequel just so you could delve a little deeper into the backstory of the monastery, the tree and why it causes couples suicides, sadly this isn’t likely to happen, so you like myself will have to use your imagination and make up a backstory, mine involves the druids or pagans, as I have pointed out before, in a previous post, I find them freaky.