Corin Hardy’s third feature The Hallow (2015) – screening in the Night Moves strand of this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival – is an impressively moody horror set within a deep and dark Irish forest, before losing itself to mediocre effects and a long, on-the-run finish. Adam (Joseph Mawle) and Claire (Bojana Novakovic) relocate to a creaky house in the remote depths of Ireland with their newborn son. His career as a tree doctor forces Adam to tamper with the forest, much to the fear and unhappiness of neighbour Colm (Michael McElhatton), who’s more than convinced that his daughter was abducted by the fairies of old folklore.
The script is neat enough, but much is left to the imagination, particularly as the film enters its second half and the monsters become more and more integral. It’s unclear how they came to be, save from a mysteriously infectious substance in the woods, and why they’ve set their sights on stealing – and keeping babies. In that respect, the film unravels in its later scenes. Once the monsters arrive, the tension dissipates substantially rather than increases as the family vacate their home and attempt to leave the woods. A series of fairly dramatic occurrences happening and Hardy navigates the camera well enough to bring about a few mild scares. But it’s nowhere near as effective as it promised to be. Hardy has been tapped to direct the remake of 1994’s The Crow, and while he may seem like an odd choice, he exhibits enough spark in The Hallow to be worthy of the appointment. It’s a hope though, that that film doesn’t succumb to the same second act misfire as The Hallow does.
The Edinburgh Film Festival programme, tickets and more can be viewed at edfilmfest.org.uk.