Add two parts Hellraiser, one part A Nightmare on Elm Street, and a pinch of sci-fi; bake in the indie horror oven for an hour and forty minutes and you’ll get The Hollow One. It’s a recipe to whet the appetite of the die-hard 80’s horror fan.
Family secrets riddle the Wades as father Mike (Tony Doupe) hires a private investigator to find out about his wife Linda’s (Tonya Skoog) mysterious past. He and his eager daughters, Rachel (Kate Alden) and Anna (Chelsea Farthing), want to know where she comes from, but little do they know that there are dark forces at work when Mike gets a hold of a strange artifact belonging to Linda’s parents. This artifact starts a chain of tragic events that lead to Linda’s death, the girls becoming estranged from their father and jail time for Rachel’s boyfriend Matt (Jesse James). Two years later, the girls and Matt head back home to get answers, only to find that their mother’s family secret has taken on a life of its own.
Heavy on atmosphere, The Hollow One is at times slower than necessary, and the opening scenes seem a touch too idyllic. It harkens back to the aforementioned 80’s era where films often called for a wholesome start in order to contrast the impending chaos lurking around the corner. And there is plenty of chaos and weird black goo in this movie. In fact, look for Z Nation’s Russel Hodgkinson as a shopkeeper named John who is just covered in it.
Of the principal cast, Alden stood out as the tormented Rachel and resembled a classic 80’s final girl. Farthing and James also proved to be worthy foils for all the panicked action. Without giving away spoilers, I fell in love with the creature. I wasn’t quite sure what his message was, but it was so different, so weird, and right up my alley, that I waited for him to make any kind of appearance. Make note of the sound design for him too-it’s pretty chilling.
With a good concept, a great creature, and an ending that screams sequel. The Hollow One is creepy horror fare that leaves you wanting more.
Sunday, October 18, 7:00 PM, Scotiabank Theatre
Tickets can be purchased at the Toronto After Dark website.