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Frightfest 2015 Spotlight: The Hallow

With just two weeks to go until Frightfest takes over the Vue in Leicester Square, Joey Keogh takes a look at some of the most-anticipated movies on this year’s jam-packed schedule. This week, it’s Irish haunted forest chiller The Hallow, previously known as The Woods.

Ireland has a tough relationship with horror. We should be able to do it perfectly, given our tortured, ghoul-laden history. But, from Shrooms to The Canal, we just can’t seem to get it right. All of that is set to change with the release of Corin Hardy’s highly-anticipated creature feature The Hallow.

The flick is set to haunt theatres in the UK and Ireland later this year (there is no date set for a Statewide release at the time of writing). It’s also one of the top picks for Frightfest 2015, with significant buzz building around its non-Main Screen showing. Miss it at your peril.

Visual effects maestro Hardy, who started creating his own monsters in his bedroom at the tender age of 12, makes his feature directorial debut with a tale he also co-wrote, of a tortured family and an enchanted forest, which he tantalisingly described as “Straw Dogs meets Pan’s Labyrinth”. The flick was shot on location in the Irish countryside, over a period of just six weeks, which included three weeks worth of night shoots.

Joseph Mawle in The Hallow

Happily, for purists, the beasties contained therein (which are still being kept mostly under wraps) were captured with a mixture of old-school practical effects, puppetry, prosthetics and animatronics, before being polished off with a dash of CGI.

The cast is headed up by Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic, as the tortured couple in the thick of it all. Also featured are notable Irish character actors Michael Smiley and Michael Mc Elhatton, as a local cop and the harbinger of doom neighbour respectively.

The Hallow has already screened at Sundance, the Stanley Film Festival and Fantasia, to rave reviews. Frightfest is its last stop before it hits theatres, so we are especially lucky to get a chance to see it, as it looks as though it’s going to be one of the must-watch horror movies of an already strong year.

Drew McWeeny, of Hitfix, noted there’s nothing better than when a filmmaker takes the time to actually build his monsters, describing The Hallow as “good old-fashioned monster movie fun” while The Hollywood Reporter went one step further, describing it as “viscerally scary”.

One of the most glowing reviews of the film thus far comes courtesy of the still-untouchable Fangoria, who gave it a stellar 4-star review, calling it “one of the most visually engaging and starkly terrifying monster movies in recent memory”. If that doesn’t sell you on this movie, nothing will.

Check out the trailer below and let us know whether you think The Hallow is destined to become a new creature feature classic, or if it will drown under the weight of its own goop.


The Hallow screens at Frightfest on Saturday, 29th August at 6.30PM on the Splice Media Discovery Screen. Weekend passes for the festival are sold out, but, at the time of writing, passes are still available for individual movies direct from the website.  Frightfest takes place from August 27th – 31st at the Vue cinema, Leicester Square. Wicked Horror will be there in August to bring you all the need-to-know reviews, news and interviews direct from the festival.

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Written by Joey Keogh
Slasher fanatic Joey Keogh has been writing since she could hold a pen, and watching horror movies even longer. Aside from making a little home for herself at Wicked Horror, Joey also writes for Birth.Movies.Death, The List, and Vague Visages among others. Her actual home boasts Halloween decorations all year round. Hello to Jason Isaacs.
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