Hollow [Blu-Ray] Michael Axelgaard

Hollow [Blu-Ray] Michael Axelgaard
3
For nearly the first third of Hollow, it looks like Michael Axelgaard's first full-length film is set to buck convention and deliver a decent take on the found-footage horror genre. Crushing that early promise though, the home stretch is about as fresh and original as an ironic moustache. What starts out as a reasonably naturalistic look at how myth and superstition can produce irrational fear ends up devolving into a great deal of heavy breathing in the dark, awkward camera angles and senseless behaviour. To begin, a crime scene investigation leads into footage found in a camera at the base of a creepy old tree where four young adults were mysteriously hanged. Gee, do you think they filmed just enough to reveal exactly what happened to them? Of course they did, but in the plus column, the editing is designed to feel slightly more realistic than what's seen in most of these types of movies. Two young British couples are on a road-trip, and because the story requires it, one of them brings along a video camera. The festive outing is partly a celebration of Emma (Emily Plumtree) and Scott's (Matt Stokoe) recent commitment to a future nuptial plunge and partly so that Emma can pack up her late grandfather's estate. James (Sam Stockman), the most frequent cameraman of the crew, brings new flame Lynee (Jessica Ellerby) along for the ride. Displaying a comfortable rapport and sense of humour, the foursome are a relatively fun gang to spend time with — initially. As the film progresses, sexual tensions between the couples are fanned and local legends about creepy cult practices and an eerie suicide tree feed the ominous dread required to make simple darkness a tool of fright. While it does have a bit to say about how people purposefully omit knowledge about their friends and loved ones in order to fit an idealized image, those brief insights are obscured by a needlessly drawn-out final act that is as predictable and boring as it is in defiance of the realistic reactions the characters exhibited earlier in the film. With only one exceedingly brief and pointless set of interviews with the writer and director, the special features are as hollow as the titular death tree and the central metaphor for emotional detachment. (Tribeca Film)