2 March 2016



This is a top-notch horror film set in my favourite location, a haunted forest. I have a couple of little niggles with the movie, of which more later, but they don't detract from the sheer watchability of it. I hope 'watchability' is a word. If it's not, don't worry about it. I play by my own rules, haha.

Adam, Claire and Baby Finn are a little English family who come over to Ireland from London for Adam's work. Adam might be Irish himself, I'm not sure, but his missus is definitely English-sounding. They're the perfect (perfectly annoying, more like) little family.

You know the type. Back in London, they would have held posh dinner parties for their friends and gone around saying 'We're pregnant' when Claire was expecting Baby Finn, who's an absolute chubby little poppet. Try to imagine all the photos Dad-to-be would have taken of Mum's gigantic expectant tummy, and don't forget the scan pics which they'd probably have had made into their Christmas card and Facebook profile pics. Excuse my bitterness. Perfect couples like that bug me.

Adam is some sort of tree surgeon who's going to oversee the chopping down of a gorgeous old Irish forest so that the land can be sold off to pay some of the country's debts. The whole concept is bloody outrageous. I sincerely hope that such things don't happen in real life, which almost certainly means that they do, worse luck. In my book, there's almost no excuse for chopping down trees. Trees are nature's treasures. Yes, I'm a tree-hugger. I thought everyone already knew that, haha...!

Anyone, some of the locals aren't too happy about what's going to be happening to their beloved forest. And they're not the only ones. There's talk of 'forest people' who inhabit the fabulously gnarled acreage and who'll- quote, unquote- 'mess with you if you mess with them.'

Adam of course doesn't believe all this superstitious hogwash about fairies and leprechauns and banshees and whatnot, although to be fair, Ireland's legends and lore are positively rife with them. We're mad for that kind of thing here in the Emerald Isle. But Mr. Sceptic is determined to do the job he's been assigned without worrying about that kind of nonsense.

Until, that is, their sprawling rustic stone house in the middle of nowhere (bloody rich people, what did I tell ye?!) comes under attack by assailant or assailants unknown in the dead of night and Adam and Claire are forced to face facts. There's something or someone out there in the forest after all. And whatever or whoever it is, they want Baby Finn and they'll stop at nothing (such a cliché, that!) to get their claws into him...

THE HALLOW reminds me of several other horror movies at once, although it's by no means a derivative kind of film. It's just that everything's gotta be influenced by something, right? It stands to reason. There's STRAW DOGS, the book of which was called THE SIEGE OF TRENCHER'S FARM, for the, well, siege element. M. Night Shyamalan's SIGNS for the whole thing of someone creeping around your house in the dead of night and you come outside shouting blue murder thinking it's someone you know who might have a grudge against you. But it's not them...

The things growing out of the creatures' bodies are straight out of SPECIES, the sexy sci-fi horror starring the gorgeous Natasha Henstridge. ALIEN and even ET: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL for the creatures again. THE HILLS HAVE EYES. I'll leave you to work out that one for yourself. Well, you can't expect me to do all the work, haha. Ditto ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.

It also reminds me of excellent British horror flick THE CHILDREN (2008). Speaking of which, the actress who plays Yummy Mummy Claire is the image of the Tointon sisters. Hannah was terrific in THE CHILDREN. Her older sister Kara used to play Dawn Miller who went out with Gary in EASTENDERS and she also won STRICTLY COME DANCING a few years back with Artem, the dancer famed for his massive chest. They even got together. Everyone does on that show...!

I don't know if the beautiful, carefully tousle-haired Ms.Novakovic is related to them at all (probably not likely, as she's a Serbian-Australian actress) but she's the image of 'em both, if they were both sort of mashed together into one super-fit bird. It was actually quite distracting watching her, wondering why she looked so much like two other actresses from halfway across the world. Ah well sure, it doesn't really matter.

She's (Bojana Novakovic) a good little actress and she did a tip-top job, in my humble opinion, of portraying a mother whose child is in real danger of being abducted. As a mother myself, I can state categorically that her terrible distress seemed utterly believable to me. 

Also, the film has it spot-on in terms of what a mother is prepared to do for her nipper while the dad (sorry, dads everywhere!) looks on bemused with a bandage round his pus-filled eye and a gammy leg he can't put any weight on...!

I forgot to tell you about my niggles. They're pert and pink and pointy and when you suck 'em... Oh, wait, sorry, those are my nipples. I was meant to be telling you about my niggles. Remember I said I had a couple? They're scarcely worth mentioning, except to say that the creatures, fantastic as they are, are not really how I picture the Irish 'little people' or 'baby-snatchers' who'll steal away your baby and replace him or her with a changeling.

In fact, I drove the friend with whom I watched the movie mad with my constant assertions that the demonic creatures looked less like fairies than fully-grown, adult male aliens or 'maliens,' heh-heh-heh. In the end, she just lost it with me and snapped back that 'no-one had ever claimed that they were gonna look like f***ing fairies...!' I got the last word, though. I replied, quick as a flash, with that old tried-and-tested rebuttal:

'I was only saying...!'

I nearly forgot to tell you the most important thing of all. THE HALLOW is coming out on DVD on 21st March 2016, courtesy of the lovely kind folks at ENTERTAINMENT ONE, and for download from 7th March 2016 onwards.

It's a great watch (pert, pointy pink niggles notwithstanding), simply oozing (that's a hint!) with good scares and if you stay watching right till the end of the credits you'll get one or two nice little surprises. I love it when that happens! Iggy the dog is a little darling, by the way. And finally, all together now:

'If you go down to the woods today...!'


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can contact her at:


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