Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Hollow (2015)

I am aware that Cinema Freaks hasn't been active as of late. This was due to the 2016 election and a hurricane, and no, I don't feel like elaborating on those things much. It isn't fun. Let's instead talk about something slightly less depressing – like this depressingly drab, cliché pile of shit The Hollow. 

Actually, never mind; I regret picking it for a review or doing this at all.

Director: Sheldon Wilson
Starring: Stephanie Hunt, Sarah Dugdale

Co-written with Michelle.

This is a made for TV movie, which I believe doesn't have to be a bad thing. But stuff this poorly written and put together isn't doing the genre many favors!

We start off with a woman and her dog that won't shut up driving in a car. They stop by some area in the trees and what looks like a firework explodes in the lady's face. If that seems weird and nonsensical to you, well, then you haven't seen as many bad horror movies as me. All of them have stupid shit like this in them.

This was the 'too gory' version of the anti-fireworks PSA your demented neighborhood council wanted to put out. The sadists...

Then we cut to something totally different and unique – a group of OTHER people driving in a car, in the same boring foresty road setting! Wow. These three are a group of sisters, I guess, whose parents have recently died in a car fire. We know this because of the extremely forced, awkward exposition they engage in. It's seriously really shitty writing – like the one girl, Marley, goes “You KNOW she's been traumatized ever since our parents burned to death in that car!”

Oh, really??? Well thank you for telling me that! Sure am glad you reminded me! I almost forgot!!

There are a bunch of really fucking terrible jump scares in this, too – like, when the two older sisters are looking for Emma, the youngest one, after she ran off into the forest randomly for no reason, a bird scares Sarah and then this guy comes out from behind a tree:

"I know I look like Brock Turner and I'm cornering young girls in the woods alone, but I promise, I'm the good guy..."

Wow! Two jump scares for the price of one! But yeah, this guy's purpose is warning her of going to this town on the island they're all traveling to, saying something bad might happen there. Heavens, me – something BAD happening in this HORROR MOVIE? Say it ain't so! Prep the bomb shelters! I never thought something bad would happen in a movie with a giant tree-fire monster on the cover!

The little girl, Emma, is apparently psychic or something – she has dreams that sort of foretell the future, and has recently had one where all three of them die. Well with THAT attitude... but seriously, though, they never even bother trying to explain what the deal is with these powers. It barely ever comes up again. There's honestly no point in it except to have some weak foreshadowing to what's going to come later. I would have forgotten about it if we hadn't expected it to be a main part of the plot, and then it just... wasn't.

They get to the island, where they're going to live with their aunt after their parents died in that accident that they clearly don't care about, as they don't bring it up ever again.

However, when they get there, they find the island completely abandoned, which is weird, but doesn't seem to ring any strange bells for the girls. I get the feeling these three together had maybe a 75 IQ score. But what's weirder is they get to their aunt's house and find her dead inside her car! Oh man, just another classic good time at auntie's house.

Almost as good as The Visit by M. Night Shyamalan for twisty-turny stories about visiting relatives!

They go through an extremely confusing segment next in which they help this wounded lady into the house who's been attacked by the monster from the beginning. Inside, a storm hits and the two older sisters, Marley and Sarah, argue about how Sarah won't let her do anything. This is really boring, so I don't care about expounding any further – but I will say Marley, played by Sarah Dugdale, constantly looks like she's on drugs through this whole thing:

Are you cosplaying as Midget Elvira this year for Halloween?

Seriously, somebody on set needs to get her into a detox program and keep any needles or pill bottles away from her.

I don't get why their cell phones don't work. I mean, sure, out in the country, maybe. But once they get to the main part of town, it makes no sense unless this is some weird Amish coven with no cell towers. They should be able to just call that guy at the pier on the mainland and get him to send help – and then boom, movie over. But I guess there is a God and he hates us, so that doesn't happen and the movie continues.

They eventually get into town, though, and they split up somehow. Marley finds this shop where the monster kills a guy in front of her, throwing his body on top of her. He doesn't touch her though, or Emma who was standing BEHIND them inside the store the whole time. This is sadly one of the movie's most annoyingly bad elements – the monster constantly has a chance to kill them all very easily but doesn't do it because... uh, I got nothing. Because it... doesn't want to?

"Nah... I got a lot of chores to do today! See ya!"

Later on, they find another group of people hiding in this store, and the monster doesn't even kill them THEN. There's no reason why it can't just burst through the door and instantly kill them! The rest of the fucking island is deserted and dead at this point, so I guess the monster is just off downloading bootlegged Game of Thrones episodes in-between maimings and murders.

If you really give a fuck, here is the backstory we get – some witches were killed in this town a hundred years ago, and now a monster exists because of that and will come back every hundred years for no fucking reason and kill people again. Really? That's the best you could think of? If I turned that into a third grade writing homework assignment, my teacher would flunk me out of the class. You should be ashamed.

I love the fact that these witches cast a spell to 'come back' from the dead as something far worse, and the monster in this movie is the best they could get - a shitty bundle of sticks with a flaming head that moves like a drunk praying mantis. Girls, I think somebody at the magic shop ripped you off.

Also, that guy with a gun from earlier in the movie, who warned them about the island? He's apparently some kind of internet writer who doesn't even believe in the legend of the island, and is just going there to be a cynical ass about it. Because why have any aspect of this plot make any sense, right? If he didn't believe in the legend, why did he tell them it was so serious?

So, honestly, this is the point of the movie where it really fell off a cliff for us. There's nothing wrong with a slow-building plot, which we figured this might be. But nope! It just had no plot, period! Everything we thought was going to be revealed was completely off-base, because the movie just ignored any kind of plot threads and turned into a generic chase scene. I'll give you some of our guesses that turned out to be complete moot points:

-Was the monster not killing the three sisters because they were all important for some reason? Like, were they reincarnations of these three witches that got killed there years ago, or something? NOPE!

-Were the other people they ran into in town going to be evil and conspiring against them or lying to them in some way? NOPE!

-Was the monster dragging off certain bodies for some ultimate endgame that we couldn't guess? Nope, just for no reason at all!

It's just awfully, confusingly bad plotting. How can so little actually happen? Don't you have any sense of drama?

What DOES happen is about 20 minutes of really, really boring running around in a forest from the monster, with most of the characters having to limp now after being injured – because not being able to run properly just makes action that much more exciting, remember. The monster sure does show its face a lot! What a narcissistic, full-of-himself piece of shit.

"My mother always told me I looked like Cary Grant!"

They end up down in an old bunker, because when in doubt, make it harder for yourselves to escape – brilliant plan, General Patton's spawn! They mostly do nothing of consequence there, just more hiding from the monster. Sarah locks herself in this room with the monster, intending to trap it there, and it kills her – a noble sacrifice, for sure. But why didn't she just lock the monster in and save herself? My theory is that she just wanted to end it all now and get out of the misery that is this fucking movie.

"Finally, the sweet embrace of death! Woohoo!"

Then they go outside and the monster follows them, nearly killing Marley before a burst of sunlight through the trees kills the monster instead, because this thing is such a pussy piece of shit monster, sunlight kills it. And not in a cool way like with vampires, either.

But wait a second. Didn't the movie establish that this monster comes back every hundred years? It leaves at the end of Halloween, they said, and doesn't come back for 100 years. So basically nothing they even did mattered! That's bullshit. And this movie is bullshit.

I don't even know what else to add. Bad storyline, with nothing explained or elaborated on, and a bunch of dumb moments where the monster could've killed them but didn't for no reason. Lots of lazy jump scares. No good characters or drama at all, and even though they try early on, they drop it later on and never bring it up again. How much more do you need?

Nothing about this was entertaining at all. Like I said, this wasn't even a good choice for a Cinema Freaks review, and I am sorry I did it. If I had a physical copy of this movie, I'd put it in the Trick or Treat bags of whichever kid annoyed me the most on Halloween night.

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