Corin Hardy’s first film, The Hallow, is amazing. I was simply blown away at how innovative and original it was. The film is straight up creature feature with creatures that are well designed and dynamic, terror that is real and horror that is earned.
So the plot: a couple, Adam and Clare, moves out to the Irish wilderness so that Adam can test the local fauna and see what is what as the forests are now property of the government. The government wants to start deforestation but Adam is there to do an environmental study of the area first. While out in the woods, he comes across a cordycep that he is unfamiliar with. He brings it back for study and, while ignoring the warnings of locals, continues his survey. From there the movie becomes an escalating series of action beats and terror as the creatures move in from the woods and the family is forced to fight not only for their lives but for their souls.
And now the creatures: These beasts are out for blood (and babies) and will stop at nothing to get what they desire. Based on the fairy folk of Irish myth (some truly terrifying stuff to be mined from there by the way) and mixing them with the horror of the cordycep, these creatures are a marvel to behold. And behold them you absolutely do. Hardy puts his creatures (made with a masterful mix of practical and CGI effects) front and center. My main complaint is that most monster flicks mitigate the monsters to looking menacing from a distance and then bring the action up close or simply show the damage done by the beast. While this can be, and is effective, Hardy has taken his creatures and given them clear actions and rules that they must act within as well as wide ranges of movements and maneuvers. The end result is a group of creatures that are dynamic and vicious but also beatable. It makes the final showdown between Adam and the monsters that much more harrowing and intense and the conclusion to the film that much more satisfying.
I wish that I could say more, that I could go into plot details and speculation about the beasties on display but I can’t; that is simply not the point of this article. This is me telling you to stop what you are doing and find this film On Demand. Rent it for the evening and start your new year off right by watching one of the most unique and inventive and fresh creature features to come along in years. As for Corin Hardy, he was recently tapped to direct the reboot of The Crow* and—while I cringe at reboots— if he is given free reign this will be one hell of a movie.
*-This series might be the one exception to my cringing. The sequel was awful and the tv series was middling. With the recent release of some amazing Crow comics (Curare and Pestilence) and the presence of Nick Cave, Cliff Dorfman and creator of The Crow, James O’Barr on board with scripting duties, I am more than a little excited to see this project—ummmm—take wing and fly. Shooting starts in March, we will let you know when the titular character has been cast and if there are any plot details out here cold, dark interwebs.