Review: With Tribeca Twosome "Hollow" & "Grave Encounters 2" You Get What You Pay For

October 11th, 2012 10:00am EDT

Hollow It’s funny how the first person or found footage horror craze began with flicks like the Sundance hit "The Blair Witch Project" and has evolved into a virtual cavalcade of forgettable doc style terror tales. "Hollow" is one such tale. It’s an uninspired film desperately trying to evoke scares with little mayhem, slight visual candy, but a ton of shaky camera and high-pitched screams – not a recipe for the horror hall of fame.

In a small, remote village in Suffolk, England there’s a local legend surrounding an old monastery that has haunted the town and it’s people. Four friends decide to travel out to the area anyway and at first it’s just sounds and noises that evoke attention. But after consulting a local priest, who himself tries to shy away from the stories of the many suicides by young couples in the area, they soon realize that something is wrong.

That’s as far as I’m going with this one because any more and it implies there’s much more mythological meat to "Hollow" – there isn’t. The film actually starts off promising, with the inclusion of one of the most sinister looking trees I’ve ever seen and it achieves a creepy vibe. But once the camera becomes the terror toy of choice, the story resorts to running, screaming, and various cheesy jostling moments that induce a headache more than terror. Plus the characters here aren’t all that memorable, hence not sympathetic, hence you don’t feel fear for their safety – never a good sign when you only have four lead cast members. I’m not against the whole reality horror craze, but we have to keep evolving the genre. Just picking up a camera may be the philosophy of budding filmmakers looking for work, but for a feature length chiller more though must be included. "Hollow" is a horror film that truly lives up to its name.

Title: "Hollow"

Stars: 1

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Cast: Emily Plumtree, Sam Stockman, Jessica Ellerby

Director: Michael Axelgaard

Rating: Not Rated

Running Time: 89 Minutes

Release Company: Tribeca Films


Not having seen the first "Grave Encounters," I was a tad skeptical about watching "Grave Encounters 2." Good news and bad news. Good news is it frankly didn't matter, as the story this time around involves a film student trying to prove the first film wasn’t real – an engaging premise that keeps the flick watchable. Bad News – once the Scooby gang reaches their final destination it turns into one of the most inane and mundane first camera flicks this side of "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2."

Alex Wright is a film student and all around movie geek who becomes obsessed with the horror film "Grave Encounters." After giving the film a bad review on his video blog, he starts to get anonymous messages and info that the film might be real. Determined to prove all the conspiracy nuts wrong, Alex and his friends head out to document once and for all that the film is exactly that – a film.

Again, the first half of "Grave Encounters 2" is fairly engaging stuff. Watching Alex investigate the original films origins by shaking down the producer and especially by visiting the eerie senile mother of one of the missing is a good set up that lingers. (Seeing that old woman waving from the window sent shivers up my spine!) Sadly, this one eventually goes the way of the shake and run first person midway through and then makes a sharp turn at goofy. Writhing freaky faces (even Asian films don't use this anymore!), doors and walls that move and a crazed survivor from the first film that’s been trapped inside all look and feel like cheap scares for a cheap buck –you get what you pay for.

Title: "Grave Encounters 2"

Stars: 2 1/2

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Cast: Richard Harmon, Sean Rogerson, Stephanie Bennett

Director: John Poliquin

Rating: Not Rated

Running Time: 99 Minutes

Release Company: Tribeca Films



Related: Hollow, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Reviews: Limited Release

Photo Credits: Photos Courtesy of Tribeca Films

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