Sometimes I feel as though The Blair Witch Project has a lot to answer for. There’s no getting away from the fact that the Found Footage horror genre has been diluted with quite a bit of shite.
Hollows Grove had all the ingredients to be a top found footage film but unfortunately it crashed and burned. Let’s take a look at why it failed so miserably…
Papering up The Cracks With ‘Cool’
The director of Hollows Grove ( Craig Efros ) has tried his best to inject a large dose of ‘cool’ into the screenplay and cinematography of this film. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as some of the actor’s performances really shone because of this.
The problem I have is that this ‘cool’ element was relied on to heavily throughout the film and any original ideas suffered because of it.
The cast were pretty good – actually they were very good for Found Footage standards. They had some pretty amusing banter sessions and the chemistry was there for all to see.
But horror films desperately need something original in them to stay interesting – this offering did not tick that box!
The story follows Harold Maxwell ( Matthew Carey ) who plans on filming a documentary about his college friends who are now ghost hunters in a syndicated television show called S.P.I.T.
The plot sort of decides early on that it is going to follow the Grave Encounters idea except use an abandoned orphanage instead of an asylum!
The leader of this group of paranormal investigators is named Tim ( Matt Doherty ) and he let’s it slip that most of what they film is set up ( shock, horror! ).
They have a guy named Bill that is a retired special effects artist and he goes around the venues beforehand setting up realistic paranormal situations. I was really surprised to see that the cult actor Lance Henrikson was playing the role of Bill.
So the group get to the orphanage to film their way through the paranormal traps Bill has set up for another episode of S.P.I.T.
But something is not quite right about this particular film production shoot as the effects and stunts seem a lot more convincing than normal…
For the life of me I have no idea how they convinced Lance Henrikson to play the part of Bill in this film. It’s not as if it’s a big part either – it’s more of a cameo role at best!
I have the feeling that they blew most of the budget on Mr. Henrikson’s wages and were left scraping around for the remainder of the film. I also got the feeling that the story was being written AS filming was taking place – everything seemed thrown together without much planning or organization ( from what I could see! ).
There is no doubt in my mind that director Craig Efros is a fan of Grave Encounters – this has not worked in his favor! Craig has opted to go for a marketing campaign which includes the slogan:
“the most frightening film you’ll see all year”
Really Craig? Are you maybe clutching at straws a little bit here?
This is not a frightening film overall, not frightening at all! The paranormal incidents included in the plot have all been seen before in this genre – very little was original.
The cast are a strong collection of actors and I have to say they tried their best to keep the film’s head above water. They worked well together and the fear they displayed on screen seemed real. It would of been great to see more of my friend Lance but it looks as if he was after a quick pay-day!
At the end of the day this was no different than any other abandoned building yarn from the Found Footage genre – not once did they attempt anything new or interesting.
Craig Efros seems to have been given all the tools needed to succeed with this film but has failed to use them in the correct way.
Sorry Craig – I cannot recommend this film.