“The Hallow” – 2015 Fantasia Film Review

Somewhat in the style of “Lone Wolf and Cub,” Corin Hardy’s “The Hallow” (aka “The Woods”) features an Irish conservationist named Adam, who packs his infant son on his back, and takes him out into the back-country woods while he looks for evidence of tree rot and curiously deceased forest animals. Adam and his wife are new to the area, and the intense locals would rather he stop poking around, giving fair warning that the woods are full of baby-stealing faeries and banshees who don’t take kindly to trespassers.

Naturally (ha!), Adam ignores them, as he’s got beloved mouths to feed. Soon enough, however, he and wife and baby find themselves hunted by a collection of grotesque spider-walking creatures, alien burn victims, E.T.’s less adorable cousin, and a freakish Hillbilly girl.  And, oh yeah… they are also stalked by malevolent black goo. Lots of dripping, oozing, shape-shifting malevolent goo.

At many points, the film feels like another sequel to “The Evil Dead,” taken DEADLY serious. You’ve got a couple trapped by nature in a cabin in the woods, an ancient book with a peculiar three-dimensional cover, and a seemingly possessed man who is not always in control of his own actions. Unfortunately, you’ve also got only one good legitimate scare.  But hey, there’s a moral: Never, ever store your baby in a cupboard. “Goo-goo,” indeed!

“The Hallow” received its Canadian premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival on July 15.  The festival runs through August 4.  For further information go to fantasiafestival.com.