Article by: Luca Richiardi
Translation by: Kim Turconi
How do a young and loving couple react to the unknown?
The most primordial and essential life events can have serious effects on us, when they are experienced firsthand. The unknown is hidden behind the birth of a child, in the way in which such event changes the perception of the relationship between parents; the unknown can be found in tales and myths, among the folklore that is (or was) transmitted to children.
The Hallow, first feature film of the young British author Corin Hardy, deals with ambiguities and the unknown. The film initially titled “The Woods”, was premiered at the Sundance Festival, where it has been noticed for its qualities.
The Hallow is without any doubt a horror; it proudly represents the genre with all the trimmings and many clichés that are so appreciated by horror fans. We see a little family, happy to start their life together in their new isolated home surrounded by a lively, dark, dangerous forest. There is nothing wrong with using and abusing of such commonplaces, when it is done skillfully. This is what good films do, and they manage to do it in a stimulating and pleasant way.
Good films put the audience at ease by presenting a familiar atmosphere: a relaxed audience can be carried in different directions – even new directions – as long as the film itself is able to respect the audience. This is the case of The Hallow.
As he said himself during the press conference, Corin Hardy is a big fan of horror, especially of the golden age of Italian horror: the ’70s and ’80s variety of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci – as evidenced by Corin’s shirt of Suspiria, worn with pride.
Hardy is well aware of what it needs to make a good horror film, and he shows great respect for his role models.
The Hallow is born from the legends of European folklore – Irish folklore in particular – and, for this reason, the film is set in Ireland itself. Hardy gathered together changelings, fairies, sylvan monsters, traditional creatures and he reshaped them with his own hands. He also showed to us some preliminary but beautiful sketches of the creatures design.
The Hallow is the result of measured quotations scattered throughout the film, good narrative choices that keep the tension high by playing on ambiguous situations, believable performances from the actors, great soundtrack and the light – almost invisible – hand of the director.
A horror film not to be taken lightly: it will scare, confuse and entertain you, and it will make you desire to watch another Corin Hardy’s film again.