Has ‘The Babadook’ started a trend for horror films grounded in reality? Directed by British first-timer Corin Hardy, ‘The Hallow’ is set against the backdrop of actual events – the Irish government’s plans (scrapped after protests) to sell off its forests. Joseph Mawle is Adam, a tree surgeon who moves with his wife (Bojana Novakovic) to the sticks in Ireland, pissing off the locals. This being the back of beyond, the villagers are a miserable bunch of clodhoppers who warn darkly of ancient child-snatching spirits in the forest. Pretty soon the family is under siege.
Rather than letting the CGI do all the graft, Hardy unleashes a beautifully handcrafted army of puppets and animatronic demonic creatures. Too many, too soon, really. It’s overkill and pretty quickly you’re suffering from fiend fatigue. And this is less creepy than ‘The Babadook’, with none of that is-this-supernatural-or-psychological mystery? Still, it’s the only film you’ll see this year with a ‘fungus research advisor’ in the credits.