Monday, October 26, 2015

Horror Review #24 - 25: The Hollow (2015), Twixt (2011)

Double feature tonight, to catch up!  Again!  Yea.  I know.  I'm a total slacker.  That's just me.  :-)  Tonight's movies are completely unrelated to each other, as much as I'd like to unite them with a common theme, so let's just get to the reviews.

The Hollow (2015) is so new that it doesn't even have an IMDB.com entry yet, as far as I can tell.  Basically, three girls are heading to an island to visit their Aunt Cora when they hear about an old legend, one that says 6 young girls were accused of Witchcraft on the island, and put to death.  As they died, the girls summoned up a fierce storm and half the people on the island died on Halloween, 1915.  They also vowed that, 100 years later, they would return and seek vengeance on anyone staying on the island.  Turns out, just as these three girls are visiting their Aunt Cora, it's 100 years later, and a fierce storm is a-brewing up on the island that will cut it off from the mainland...

I think this is a case of my review actually being better than the movie again.  The backstory was good enough, the tale of the 6 girls killed 100 years back, but here's my problem.  At the beginning of the movie, the townsfolk are getting all freaked out because there's a storm coming, and they're scared of being on the island because "the last time a storm hit the island, half the people on it died!"  Okay, look, this is 2015.  No story that's 100 years old would even be considered to be real anymore.  It's too far removed from the public memory to incite fear in the local populace.  Two, there are people living on the island.  You're telling me that, in the last 100 years, there has NEVER been a storm on the island?  Because if "the last time there was a storm on the island, half the people died!"  Storms occur in most places fairly often.  Wouldn't the last time have been, at best, a few weeks back?  I mean, if half the people had died then, and during every storm for the last 100 years, I could see where the townsfolk would be a little upset.  Plus, there wouldn't be anyone living on the island at all at that point, would there?  No.  No there wouldn't.

So then we get to the basic nuts and bolts of the movie.  There's this creature made of twigs and sparks, is I guess the best way I can describe it, and it's hunting, well, everyone, as it's supposed to.  Apparently, this is the form of vengeance the spirits of those 6 girls took.  Okay, I'm with you so far.  So.  Where exactly is this storm they keep mentioning?  They said there was going to be one, and... There wasn't, not til the very end.  Nothing all day and throughout most of the night.  What we end up with is a few strokes of lightning and poof, movie over.  That was it?  That was the big storm that was scaring everyone away from the island?  Really?  No rain, no wind, no fog, no hurricane, just poof?  Wtf?

The basic story was easy enough to follow, and matched the usual SyFy movie of the week pattern (which is where I saw this one, on Syfy).  Creature chases victims, victims die one by one, creature seems unstoppable, finally creature is defeated.  Not giving anything away in case you want to watch this drivel on Syfy at some point.  The creature effects were computer generated, but they weren't bad.  The girls were cute, but their parents died recently and I'm a little confused as to how the older sister got temporary custody of her two younger sisters, or how the youngest sisters weren't already in the custody of their aunt cora to begin with, since she seems to be the sole surviving relative?  Meh.  Just a little confusing.  Also confusing is how, in an underground bunker where one of the girls needs a lighter just to see, there's still the flicker of lighting that somehow shows through not only the steel superstructure of the underground place where they are, but through the ground as well.  That's some impressive lightning.

Meh, I don't think The Hollow is worth a watch at all, honestly.  Syfy may play it again if you really must see it.  Acting was passably okay and some of the actors looked familiar.  There was some blood and gore, and the creature made frequent appearances, so, there's that.  On to the next one.

Twixt (2011) is the story of ...  well, I guess it's a story of how a writer came up with his next novel, and solved a murder in the meantime.  Apparently, some guy named Hall Baltimore is a novelist, and is having a hard time writing his next book due to his daughter's recent death.  While on a book signing tour (the bane of every novelist, apparently), Hall is approached by the local Sheriff of a rinky-dink little town to co-write a novel about vampires.  The Sheriff lays out the beginning of the tale, involving the unidentified corpse of a murdered girl in the town's morgue, and Hall tries to run with it, only to run into his usual difficulties, that of alcoholism and writer's block.  Can Hall get an outline to his editor before ending up another body in the morgue?  Only time will tell!

Okay, this movie was just confusing.  Val Kilmer plays Hall baltimore, the "bargain basement Stephen King" of this tale, and Bruce Dern is effective and engaging as the sheriff.  Elle Fanning does an equitable turn as V, the murder victim.  Special effects were okay, but as to what actually happened, well, who knows.  Supposedly, there were some murder victims, staked in the way that one would kill a vampire, and these formed the basis of the novel that eventually went to Hall's editor.  There were a lot of murdered kids buried somewhere that Edgar Allen Poe once spent the night, and Hall spent a lot of time chatting with Poe in his alcohol-induced dreams.  And then...!  And then Hall is handing his finished novel to his editor, or publisher, or whatever, who assures him the novel is bulletproof.  Whatever that means.

What did I just watch?  Was it a horror movie?  I can't tell.  No wonder it did poorly at the theaters.  It's on netflix (netflix calls it a thriller) if you want to try your hand at figuring it out, but it disappears from their streaming service on Nov 1.  Honestly, I'd say give it a pass.  Too confusing to figure out, and nothing interesting to keep your attention.  And wtf was up with the clock tower?  They spend all this time mentioning it and nothing of any note happens there.  What was the damn point?  So confusing.

So, don't watch either of the films that I just suffered through!  For your sake.  I hope you guys appreciate my sacrifice.  That's almost 3 hours of my life that I spent watching crap, so you don't have to.  That's right, I took one for the team.  The horror-movie-enthusiast team.  Actually, I took two for the team.  So go watch something better!  Don't make my sacrifice meaningless!  Save yourselves!

Til next time.

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