DVD Review: Hollow (2011)
Review by Annie Riordan
I know it may sound strange to many of you, but not only was I looking forward to watching a movie about a tree, I was also expecting it to be rivetingly entertaining. You see, I automatically expect non-American films to be way better than those made here in the same way that I expect items purchased at Harrods to be superior to the cheap shit they sell at Wal-Mart.
But yeah. The Hollow is a movie about a haunted tree. A big, spooky looking hollow tree sitting all by itself in an open field. For hundreds of years, the locals have shunned the tree, believing its hollow interior to be haunted by Something Evil. Over the last four hundred years or so, many a young couple in love have been found swinging from the tree’s sturdy branches for no apparent reason. The history of the old hollow tree contains many gruesome myths and legends but no solid facts, save one: an exorcism was performed on the tree by the local Vicar, who soon after died from an “accidental” overdose of his own medication. One year after his unfortunate demise, his granddaughter Emma comes to close up the old house, bringing along her fiance Scott, her best friend James and James’ slutty blonde girlfriend Lynne.
And here’s where anything even remotely promising about the plot – as atmospheric up to this point as any of Arthur Conan Doyle’s many perilous and fog-haunted moors – comes crashing down with a sound like a million douchebags herp-derping in terror, and not being silenced as soon as they should have been.
Emma, the prim, proper brunette of the bunch, may be forgiven for being a tad uptight – she’s the granddaughter of an English Vicar, after all. However, her choice in men roundly sucks as fiance Scott quickly establishes himself as a typical popped-collar frat boy fucksock who fancies himself quite a bit more than anyone else does. He belittles James, he makes misogynistic statements directed at Emma, he brings a bulging baggie of coke to the party and is quick to suggest a round of strip Monopoly. He’s also keen on Lynn’s skanky ass, and being the one-dimensional vacuous cokewhore that she is, she really doesn’t mind. Apart from it all sits James, filming everything and just waiting for Emma to wise up and dump Scott so he can move in and pick up the pieces.
Unfortunately, it takes forever to happen and every last minute of that endless forever is captured on film and guess who gets to watch it? Seriously, this was the longest 4 hours of my life, and I was only 35 minutes in.
Finally, they all get coke-blasted and shitfaced and remember that there’s a haunted tree nearby! And hey, lets run out into the dark and investigate! Great idea! Drama ensues, spooky noises happen and slowly – VERY slowly, over the course of a very dusty and leaden 24 hours – the gang decides they need to leave. Except they can’t because James goes missing. So they have to go looking for him in the dark, all alone. And their cell phones won’t work. And the car won’t start. And the nearest call box has been vandalized. And there’s a dead fox. And Scott no longer loves Emma. And Lynn is still a whore. And the battery on the video camera is getting low, so lets keep shutting it off and then turning it back on every five minutes so we can film NOTHING AT ALL. Great, keep doing that for the last half hour of film time. “Did you hear that? I’m going out there! No, don’t! Okay, I won’t! We have to get out of here! SSSHHH! Did you hear that?” It’s a mobius strip of a movie, coming from nowhere and going nowhere. You already know what’s going to happen as the end was revealed in the films pre-credit sequence, so can we just FFW to the end already please?
This could have been a good film. Maybe even great. It had a nice spooky atmosphere to work with and some genuinely good ideas. Unfortunately, it didn’t utilize either, and comes off looking like one of the many, many, MANY ripoffs of the Blair Witch Project that all of us were sick to death of ten years ago.
I have a friend who lives in Suffolk, not far from Dunwich, where this movie was set and filmed. According to him: “(the area is) right next to the sea, and hundreds of years ago the village used to be a lot bigger but half of the cliff it was on just sunk below sea level. Apparently at low tide you can sometimes see the old church spire. Could conceivably believe it to be the home of some Cthulhu-like eldritch monstrosity.”
Now THAT would have been an awesome film! And the tree still could have been incorporated somehow. It’s a cool looking tree, no sense in letting it go to waste. But no. Instead we get over an hour of drama queens and douchebag kings, filming each other naked and acting like…well, like Americans. I could have spliced some footage from The Evil Dead into an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and been more entertained.
Please, England – don’t be like that, baby. I know you can do better.