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HORROR

The Hollow Child (2017)

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Run before it turns everyone against you.

The reason why I try to avoid seeing trailers is twofold. Or they are so revealing that you actually saw the film in advance. Either the trailer is inviting and arouses your curiosity, but afterward, you come to the conclusion they better limited themselves to making this trailer alone. Better yet. Perhaps they could have made an extended version of it because the film really doesn’t have more to offer. “The hollow child” belongs to this last category. The initial idea had potential. The end result was disappointing again. Or maybe the subject was a little too limited to make a full film of it.

 

It wasn’t even scary.

I think it’s a bit exaggerated to call “The hollow child” a horror. It was never really scary. And the revelation of what’s hiding in the dark, murky forest was so momentary and so late, that it seemed completely irrelevant. To be honest, I thought the main theme was the daily struggle of Samantha (Jessica McLeod) against the lack of understanding and the desperation about where she could feel at home. It felt as if the disappearing and reappearing of Olivia (Hanna Cheramy), daughter of the foster family where Samantha stays, was just a secondary subject. Although her personality changed. I got more shivers from what Samantha was doing to herself with scissors than from Olivia’s behavior.

Is there also something positive?

But no worries. There are also some positive aspects. The beginning certainly isn’t bad and shows some atmospheric images of the notorious forest where the youngsters walk through after school. Apparently, it’s also an enchanted forest, because after 30 years it still looks the same. Then there’s the acting part. First of all, Hanna Cheramy delivers an admirable performance. For children of that age, a leading role is certainly not self-evident. But it’s Jessica McLeod who deserves appreciation. Her acting never felt forced. The way she evolves from a rebellious teenager to a responsible daughter who sincerely regrets her mistake looked credible. On the other hand, there’s also the irritating acting of John Emmet Tracy, the unsympathetic stepfather and Johannah Newmarch (A ravishing beauty by the way). The latter is portrayed as the crazy woman who burned down her parental home in the past because she claimed her returned sister was an imposter. To be honest, she didn’t look that crazy.

Free time filler or not?

The hollow child” has its good and bad sides. But what it fails to do, is to create a creepy or frightening atmosphere. It’s far from horror and will certainly not stand out among all other releases. Don’t be misled by the movie poster. This radiates more horror than the film itself. You can call “The hollow child” a drama with some horror elements. And unfortunately, the end was too predictable. So if you have too much free time and you don’t know how to fill it, you could give this average horror a chance. However, I’m sure that afterward, you’ll use a statement that sounds like: “Maybe I should have spent my spare time doing ….“.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y63vlOcT_Yc

My rating 4/10
Links: IMDB

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HORROR

Prey | 20th Century Studios | Hulu

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

20222 (Hulu)

Director:

Dan Trachtenberg

Cast:

Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro, Stefany Mathias

Plot Summary:

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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HORROR

Choose or Die – A Miss For Netflix

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Netflix’s home page suggestions can always be hit or miss, and unfortunately its latest release ‘Choose or Die’ falls into the category of the latter. Captivated by Asa Butterfield on the poster, I was curious to see what this film had to offer and begrudgingly it didn’t have a lot.

We follow Kayla, a broke student who has a lot to deal with in terms of her family situation and being the sole provider for herself and her mum. She then stumbles upon a retro video game from the 80s which forces her to choose and ultimately leads to various chain reactions of horrific events involving people close to her.

Lola Evans as Kayla and Asa Butterfield as Isaac

The premise of the film sounds interesting, however, I think it swings and misses quite early into the film’s first act. Eddie Marsan sets the tone and trail of interest for Choose or Die as we are introduced to this sadistic game and the chain of events it will inevitably pursue. 

Choose or Die doesn’t make it easy to empathise with its characters, finding any connection to Kayla or Isaac was difficult. This ‘are they aren’t they’ subplot lingers throughout the film’s narrative but adds nothing to the overarching story. The supporting characters, such as Thea and Laura, are much more interesting and genuinely have you intrigued as to what decisions they will make.

What stood out to me was the violent and gore-like scenes of 80s horrors, with some pretty good stomach churning special effects make-up. Those intense scenes, one involving a rat, had me genuinely glued to the screen, anticipating what may happen next. Choose or Die’s strongest component are the early moral decisions Kayla has to make and ultimately demonstrate Meakin’s passion for the horror genre.

Ioanna Kimbook as Grace in Choose or Die, seen here in the diner in one of the more grotesque decisive moments for Kayla

The way in which this film is shot, felt very “student-esque” with its lackluster camera movements and setting. The set design lacked little depth, except for Isaac’s room which is full of detail, therefore making the world feel small and less three dimensional. An element which pulled me out of this cinematic experience, was the fact that this was evidently filmed in the United Kingdom, and the cast contained predominantly a lot of British actors doing an American accent so I wasn’t fully immersed into this world. 

Meakins clearly uses his passion for the horror genre to influence this film’s dark tone, from it’s leading characters’ moral compass as well as the gorey visuals that inevitably come with those decisions. The whole world feels cold and derelict, be it the place in which Kayla cleans or the housing estate of which she lives in, this is an unwelcoming world that no-one wants to comfort you in. 

Choose or Die isn’t a film that will stick out as one that defined 2022, however I’m sure someone will take something away from this film, be it’s reference to 80s gaming or the violent and graphic elements that the director is clearly passionate about. 

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HORROR

Off Season – To Premiere Exclusively on Shudder

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Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, announced that OFFSEASON will be available exclusively to stream on the platform starting on Friday, June 10, 2022. As a Shudder exclusive, the platform will be the only subscription service that will carry the film in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s gravesite has been vandalized, in OFFSEASON, Marie (Donahue) quickly returns to the isolated offshore island where her late mother is buried. When she arrives, she discovers that the island is closing for the offseason with the bridges raised until Spring, leaving her stranded. One strange interaction with the local townspeople after another, Marie soon realizes that something is not quite right in this small town. She must unveil the mystery behind her mother’s troubled past in order to make it out alive.

Check out the film’s trailer below and read our review HERE as it debuted during SXSW 2021

Written and directed by Mickey Keating (Psychopaths), OFFSEASON stars Jocelin Donahue (Doctor Sleep), Joe Swanberg (The Rental, “Easy”), Richard Brake (3 From HellMandy), Melora Walters (The Pale Door, “Pen15”) and Jeremy Gardner (After MidnightThe Mind’s Eye).

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