Out of the darkness

Director/screenwriter Corin Hardy’s debut feature, The Hallow, is a simple but effective shocker rife with tension and sprinkled with vivid imagery – some of it inspired by the works of Guillermo del Toro, Sam Peckinpah, John Carpenter, Neil Marshall, Sam Raimi, Eli Roth and any number of genre specialists. It doesn’t break new ground, but it doesn’t insult the genre (or the viewer), either.

Joseph Mawle (“Game of Thrones”) and Bojana Novakovic play Adam and Claire, a young couple who have relocated to a rustic, ramshackle farm in the Irish countryside with their infant son and their faithful dog. They are regarded with suspicion by their superstitious neighbors, whose veiled warnings not to go into the woods – the film’s original title was, simply, The Woods – naturally go unheeded.

Needless to say, it’s not long before things go bump (and worse) in the night, the power goes out, and an ancient book pertaining to local legends is discovered. Not necessarily in that order, but if you’re a horror fan you certainly get the picture.

And, indeed, horror fans will “get” this picture. Hardy, reportedly to next helm the remake/reboot of The Crow, establishes an appropriately spooky atmosphere, sets and sustains a tight pace (with the events occurring over only a few nights), introduces the supernatural threat to the family, then cues the grue – and there’s plenty. (The squeamish need not apply … or attend.)

Novakovic and Mawle bring conviction and intensity to their roles, and having their child taken by demons ups the emotional ante, as does Mawle’s infection/ possession by evil forces. They provide an all-important human component that lends The Hallows the proper weight, giving it an extra boost that many effectsdriven shockers lack.

The Hallow opens Friday !