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“THE HALLOW” (Blu-ray Review)

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Back when this writer first experienced Corin Hardy’s THE HALLOW at the sorely-missed Stanley Film Festival, I felt as if I was in the midst of seeing a striking, master-class genre filmmaker on the rise. The careful twist on genre tropes, the engaging visual style, the inclusion of Irish mythology and the undeniably phenomenal marriage of practical and digital effects all pointed to one of the most promising feature debuts in recent memory, reminiscent of such contemporary horror masters Guillermo del Toro and Neil Marshall. Yet while the film picked up critical acclaim in its limited release via IFC Midnight last year, this writer hopes that Scream Factory’s new impressive new Blu-ray release will give horrorheads the monstrous goodness in stunning 1080p High Definition.

For those unfamiliar with THE HALLOW, the film follows a conservationist who, with his wife and newborn child, move into a decrepit house on the edge of a remote village. While surveying the forest, the conservationist and his wife are harassed by a local man, who pressures them to abandon the home and leaves them a mysterious ancient book. Of course, all is not as it seems in the forest, and soon, the creatures of the night come for their child, leaving the new parents to fight tooth and nail against their supernatural assailants.

As mentioned before, THE HALLOW sports one hell of an HD transfer, with the gorgeous digital cinematography from Martijn Van Broekhuizen looking crystal clear on Blu-ray. The picture quality is rich, crisp and clean, which certainly works its magic considering most of the film is set during nighttime. Furthermore, collectors with more comprehensive stereo set-ups will get much more out of this Blu-ray thanks to the superb Dolby 5.1 audio track.

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However, if the film itself isn’t enough to get you to pick up this disc, the impressive array of extras should do the trick. The highlight of the disc is the “Making Of” documentary, giving an insight into Hardy as an artist, the creature FX, casting, performances and even the post-production process. It’s an absolutely wonderful and supremely inspiring documentary; from Hardy’s childhood Super 8 movies to watching the movement classes for the creature performance to the incredible construction of the FX, you’re guaranteed to find something to love in this fantastically-produced feature.

The rest of the features on the disc are great as well, giving the release a well-rounded and diverse array of bonus material. The audio commentary from Hardy is a must-listen, providing much more in-depth information and detailing the inspiration behind so much of the artistry that it somehow doesn’t step on the toes of the aforementioned documentary. The disc also featured bite-sized mini-featurettes, several galleries featuring storyboards, concept art and the film’s “Book of Invasions” page, as well as a theatrical trailer for good measure.

Overall, THE HALLOW is an excellent original horror offering with an equally excellent Blu-ray release; definitely up there with the best contemporary discs Scream Factory has put out to date. With a superb digital transfer, worthwhile special features and a great movie to go along with it all, THE HALLOW comes highly recommended, especially for those who prefer their creature features on the creepier side of the coin.

About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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