Fantasia Fest 2015: The Hallow (2015) & The Morrigan (Short 2014)

Starting the festival with a two movie night might not have been the best choice as I think about it afterwards. But, Kung Fu Killer delivered overall.  If you missed the review, you can find it HERE!  The Hallow was something of a wild card for me.  My line up went back and forth from adding and taking it off until I finally looked at the trailer a second time and decided that it was something I really wanted to see.

Before the movie started, as the movie resumes for various other features and this one popped up, it said that The Hallow might be the best creature feature from the UK since The Descent.  An extremely bold statement and one that raised my expectations.  Not sure that is a good thing before seeing a movie but it did. If it even lives up to 50% of the intensity that The Descent brought, this was going to be a good one.

Regardless, here we go! Before the movie (as with some features in Fantasia) there was a short called The Morrigan.

The Morrigan (Short 2014)

The Morrigan

Director: Colum Eastwood

A couple heads to their cottage house for a getaway and in the middle of the night discovers and shelters a mysterious girl fainted next to their house but little did they know, she also brought with her an evil force.  Great atmosphere and set up.  The acting was a little iffy here and there.  The location was really suitable.  It was enjoyable short.

Moving onto the main feature

The Hallow (2015) 

Canadian Premiere

the hallow

Director: Corin Hardy

Cast: Joseph Mawle, Bojana Novakovic, Michael Smiley, Michael McElhatton

A young family moves into a remote millhouse in Ireland.  Husband and father, Adam is conservationist and his job makes him go into the woods surrounding his new place.  The inhabitants there warn him to stay out as he continuously ignores it and their belief that there are mysterious forces lurking in there that should not be disturbed. Except, his actions lead one thing to another and these beings known by everyone as through lores is The Hallow.  These nocturnal creatures will do anything to take their baby from them.

The Hallow is an interesting concept. It brings not only creatures but also some fantasy and mythology into it.  Is the Hallow an actual thing? I’m not really sure.  I tried to do research but it didn’t seem to come up with anything.  Maybe there’s something similar? I don’t know but its all about selling the premise and The Hallow does a fine job of it, for the most part at least. The movie itself doesn’t have an overly lengthy running time and that does it wonders because once we get an idea of the characters here: Adam, his wife Clare and their little baby Finn, we also start knowing that the town itself is really antsy over what lies in the woods.  Right away, we already know something different and deadly will happen from the start.

The Hallow

While there are some flaws, which I will touch on near the end, The Hallow is a well-paced fantasy creature feature.  First of all, the location and set is mesmerizingly beautiful.  Funny, because it contrasts all the “evil” that lurks out of it.  But then, are creatures ever evil? Are they just acting on their instinct, right? I guess evil isn’t the right word here. It really brings out that idea that how we view something changes and takes a 180 flip with just one little change in variable. Something beautiful became creepy just by the unknown.  The build-up and the atmosphere was also extremely well done, especially when paired up with the sounds and background music going on.  Honestly, it all blended so well together that I didn’t even notice it. Plus, the premise here is really good. I’m always a fan of how when you mess with nature it comes back to bite you in the ass.  Thats generally what I felt was the idea of the story here of the natural world versus the human world when humans try to poke their noses where it doesn’t belong. In this case, we result in The Hallow who trespasses your home when you trespass theirs.

The Hallow

As I review horror movies more, I’m starting to realize certain aspects that I used to overlook.  Lets just admit this: You and I both know that I’ll get scared.  I get scared at everything.  That’s just me, I’m a chicken when it comes to these things.  So, I no longer determine whether I was scared.  Because if thats the case, every horror movie would be a winner.  Except, its how scared? How far will I suspend my beliefs or just purely believe in whatever is on the big screen.  How intense the atmosphere gets that I cringe in fear even when I know what to expect.

The Hallow was an unknown creature that builds up to its final reveal.  Let me try to explain this better, The Hallow (like many horror movies) can be split into 3 parts.  The first builds our characters and the scenario and the atmosphere.  The second part was intense as the unknown Hallow gave chase.  We saw parts of it here and there and just how gruesome and invasive and dangerous this creature is.  As we step into the final scenes and that twist that we knew would happen, things start to fall apart.  The Hallow isn’t quite as scary once the story takes a weird turn into multiple directions and we finally get a full glimpse of these beings.  Was it trying to be dramatic or was there something more it wanted to say? I really don’t know.  I just know that the ending didn’t exactly do it for me.  Be it that it was the creatures once revealed didn’t have the effect to creep me out or that the characters just went down this questionable path that I didn’t quite understand, it just felt like it fell apart for something that started and even built to so much potential.

The Hallow

Before you start thinking that I’m discrediting the movie, I’m not.  I had a lot of fun with this one.  The potential was there and a good 75% of the movie was great.  Sure, there was some questionable life choices the characters made that made me really frustrated and snicker sarcastic comments under my breath and the ending really didn’t do much for me but there’s something here.  Its not The Descent (as the description of it on the screen before the movie stated) and no, The Descent creatures will not be scared of these creatures because you can’t compare apples to oranges.  Its a different atmosphere and environment entirely from closed space to open space just to state that.  So I’m not doing that comparison.  The Hallow works for the most part and you will cringe and not even know that intensity has built up incredibly high.  I mean, I didn’t realize I was gripping my blazer tightly until the scene had a down moment to let us breathe. The atmosphere, the setting and even the shots are framed really well.  The pacing is fine. The script just needed to have a better end goal, somewhere that would work better (for me at least).  The scares are there and even if they are predictable I totally fell for it each time and even had a few startled moments. The Hallow isn’t perfect but not many horror movies are. There’s something worth seeing here and maybe you’ll appreciate the ending more than I did.  Its definitely worth your time. 🙂

Have you seen The Hallow? What did you think of it? Anyone know anything about Irish lore/legends and is The Hallow derived from an actual belief?

Fantasia Film Festival Line-up! :)

It’s the time of year again! Fantasia Film Festival hits Montreal starting the coming Tuesday (July 14th)!

After waiting for the site to get updated and the schedule to go up on Tuesday, I sat down for 2 hours looking at trailers, reading descriptions, seeing what fit in my schedule.  It sure took longer than I expected.  But then, last year probably took the same amount of time.  With work rush in the way, I have to make some choices that I didn’t really want to.  Some movies I wanted to see only  had time slots where I couldn’t go or it clashed with something I wanted to see more.

One movie, I did end up not choosing (because the chances of me getting tickets were also slim) was advanced screening of Ant-Man.  I’ll still go check it out in theatres if its still around after the festival but its okay.  There are a lot of great choices and some amazing hosts for certain movies.  With that said, I was a little nervous that I couldn’t get tickets for some of the movies.  Here is what the final line-up is!

Just a note: I don’t have particular preferences but I do usually go for less dramas and romance and more horror and thrillers.  I always choose one Hong Kong (China) production and try to dive into Canadian movies also.  Other ones, I try to keep an eye out for is Quebec production and animations that peak my interest but not necessarily included.

July 15

Kung Fu Killer (Quebec Premiere)

The Hallow (Canadian Premiere)

July 17

Cooties (Canadian Premiere)

July 19

We Are Still Here (Canadian Premiere)

Observance (World Premiere)

July 21

Anguish (World Premiere)

July 24

Tales of Halloween (World Premiere)

July 28

Cop Car (Canadian Premiere)

July 29

Bite (World Premiere)

July 30

Antisocial 2 (World Premiere)

Dark Places

That’s the line-up for now! 🙂 11 movies! That’s the same as last year.  I’m pretty happy that I managed to get all of what I wanted even though I hesitated a little during ticket checkout for Tales of Halloween and Antisocial 2. Those are kind of my wild card right there but after looking at the San Diego Comic Con trailer for Tales of Halloween.  It does make me a good bit more optimistic.  I haven’t ever dived into the world of horror anthology movies so this will be a fresh experience.  As for Antisocial 2, my review for Antisocial will go up some time next week, tell me that it doesn’t give you a creeping feeling of Resident Evil BUT I’m a huge fan of Resident Evil, seeing as its my guilty pleasure and all, that I’m willing to give this one a chance.

This year, the fiance is coming with me to see the Sunday two movies back to back night with We Are Still Here and Observance. And one of my good friends are going with me to see Cop Car.  I always love company in these things since everyone else seems to have company.  Not that I mind too much since I’m usually pretty hyped up about these events.


Moving along, there were a few movies I couldn’t see because of time constraints but these two were the ones that I felt like I will miss out the most:



While there are movies that I considered and the trailers were rather intriguing but upon a second look at the trailers and discussing with my fiance for weekend showings, we decided to not choose those.  Whatever the reason, I do only have a certain budget so sadly, among a pool of potentially good movies, I had to make choices and hope that it would work out for the better. However, please take a look.  Maybe you can shed some light on some of these that I wasn’t aware of and I’ll add it to my viewing list.

Ludo (India)

Synchronicity (USA)

Momentum (South Africa)

Cherry Tree (Ireland)

Synopsis- via Fantasia Festival

Traders (Ireland) 

Synopsis – via Fantasia Festival

And there you go! My final line-up, potential candidates that didn’t make it (but your opinion and suggestions may change that) and movies that had scheduling conflicts.  As for one of the movies, I actually chose because I wanted to see it and then work my schedule around it.  But then, I really hope I’m sacrificing for the right movie… Either way, I need to be confident in what I’ve chosen. I really do like the looks of it all.  I think I’ll need to round up a ton of comedies to ease the amount of horrors sitting in this list.  If you had to choose one horror to get creeped out of, Anguish gave me chills and the first time, I didn’t even finish the trailer on my own.  My fiance claims I’ll stay up all night.  Lets hope that won’t happen. As for hosts, Tales of Halloween will have a ton including Neil Marshall.  I’d lie if I didn’t choose to see that movie because I wanted to see what he had to say about it. Then there’s Cop Car where Kevin Bacon will host along with the director.  Just a little highlight from what I can remember.

Yay! Festival season! 🙂 Its a huge reason why I feel so lucky to be living in Montreal!

Anyone going to be here for the Fantasia Festival? What are you seeing? Anything catch your eye out of this selection? What peaks your interest from this list?