The Hallow (2015)

Nature has a dark side

Writers: Corin Hardy, Felipe Marino
Director: Corin Hardy

The Hallow is an Irish film set against the backdrop of the government selling off its forests.

The main character is Adam (Joseph Mawle), an arborist working for one of the private companies. Along with his wife Clare (Bojana Novakovic) and their baby Adam moves to a small village in order to research the local ancient forest. Specifically, he’s working out which sections will be chopped down.

Needless to say the locals aren’t on his side. Not only do they not want their forests sold off and destroyed, they also believe that the woodlands are home to ancient evil fey known as the Hallow. The Hallow won’t take kindly to Adam’s intrusion… and given the juxtaposition of fey and baby it’s no great spoiler to say there’s a changeling element to the story.

There’s also a definite eco subtext to the movie, though fortunately this is kept in check and avoids becoming preachy until the end credit sequence.

This is a film of three very different parts. The first act is all subtle hints and suggestions along with some gorgeous scenery that will certainly please the Irish Tourist Board. It’s good but does perhaps go on a bit too long before things actually start happening.

When they do, they happen with a bang! The change in style is abrupt, probably too abrupt. The story goes from creepy to all out ‘home invasion by monsters’ in a couple of minutes. This section is competently done but lacks any real panache. Perhaps it’s just because of the contrast with the build up that went before but for all the action I found this rather dull.

Then it all changes again as a well telegraphed subplot kicks in. Full marks to Hardy for giving his audience credit for some intelligence and not trying to present it as a ‘gosh wow’ twist. It’s here that the film really shines as the final act becomes dark in a very different way.

Both main actors give powerful performances and these combined with the atmospheric direction and cinematography carry what could easily have become a very silly third act. The creatures are also impressive and survive being shown on screen directly.

Overall The Hallow is a very uneven film. The final act is superb, but it’s a long while coming.