With movies like Long Pigs, The Poughkeepsie Tapes, and The Tunnel coming out in recent years, found footage has officially become the go to filming style for low budget horror films these days. First time director Michael Axelgaard looks to continue that trend with Hollow. Hollow follows two couples during their trip to one of their childhood homes in the English countryside. One couple is the newly engaged James and Emma. The other is Lynne and Scott, Emma’s longtime friend. Residing near their holiday stay is a huge, twisted old tree which supposedly contains evil within it. We are offered many stories of how the tree drives young couples to hang themselves on its branches which leave the quartet a little weary of the knotted tree in that field. However, a night of partying drives those fears away and the couples end up at the tree’s front door leading to mysterious happenings.
Hollow is an extremely slow-burn which offers up little for real scares during its runtime. Axelgaard successfully builds creepy atmosphere out in the English countryside, but a horror film can’t rely on atmosphere alone. Hollow features no gore or real special effects, but spends most of its time delving into the increasingly strained relationships between the four friends. I think the film would have been better served if it ditched trying to scare us altogether and spent more time building the tension through the relationship issues and the resulting breakdowns of the characters. But instead, it seems as if some of the relationship issues are given only surface treatment to fill the time. The ending is Hollow’s real saving grace. It takes a whole lot of patience to get to this point, but the final 15 minutes ramps up the intensity and scares to put a nice finishing touch on the film. Many viewers will have probably stopped paying attention long before this point though.
Hollow isn’t a bad showing for Michael Axelgaard’s directorial debut. It’d be interesting to see what he could do with some more money at his disposal next time. Hollow stands as just an OK entry into the found footage genre, but nothing more than that.