When will these small towns learn? Sometimes the smart thing to do is to learn how to stop worrying and learn to love the gals practicing witchcraft. As soon as the first crop failure, baby born with fangs or town poopyhead is turned into a deformed goat, the reactionary elements in the town immediately want to hit Home Depot for some wooden stakes and lighter fluid!
But how many times do they go through with this only to have a curse laid down on them, their descendants and town? Every single time! And how many times after this happens to every single small-minded small town does the next one decide that maybe a town hall meeting on tolerance should be explored instead? Never!
So the town is cursed and years later everyone gets killed, leaving our modern characters to whine about it all. Well, if you don’t respect a person’s First Amendment right to call on Satan to turn men into love slaves and other women into barren hags, you have to expect that person to exercise her Second Amendment right to self defense by unleashing a demon to eat everyone’s souls! Don’t like it? Take it up with those wig-wearing pro-witch guys who wrote the Constitution!
Shelter Island finds itself in just this situation, having burned some witches in 1915. Now, one hundred years later, a storm is coming but it is also bringing death with it! Fans of big scary storms will be bitterly disappointed as no storm actually materializes while fans of monsters that look like brush piles with fiery heads will be ecstatic!
The townspeople know something bad is coming because they are closing up shop, locking their doors and cowering out of sight. But if you knew a monster was coming to suck your lifeforce out through your eyes, why wouldn’t you just leave the island? This isn’t just some hurricane you can ride out. At the very least, the town knows that when this first happened 100 years ago, everyone died. And why didn’t the aunt of our three heroines tell them to delay their trip to the island until after the predicted killer storm had passed?
Thankfully, the three sisters are so obnoxious, you aren’t too stressed out about whether some demonic twig is going to get shoved up their nose or not. The oldest one is a controlling shrew, the middle one is a pouty rebel and the youngest is just plain crazy, wandering off at random intervals, seemingly for the sole purpose of generating tension as the other two desperately try to find her.
Oh and she also has the occasional psychic vision of the horrible things that are going to happen in the future. This is not explained and at most is used as an excuse for her running away so she doesn’t endanger her sisters, but it’s all pointless because she the monster captures her (I don’t know why it captures some and kills others – maybe he is stocking up on souls before the big storm in case he can’t get out for a few days.) and everything plays out like her vision originally showed.
In addition to the three girls whose nonstop bickering and screaming at each other make you irritated at the monster’s amateurish attempts to kill them, other characters are haphazardly introduced and then just as quickly killed off. The creepy internet star who is investigating the legend and knows all about the island’s history? Once he meets the girls at the ferry to utter sinister warnings and then later pukes out all the backstory, he hides in a freezer where he’s killed.
Likewise, two other survivors they encounter at a diner only live long enough to provide information on what direction the monster is dragging victims in and that there is an old abandoned power plant nearby. Why a monster summoned by a 100 year old witch’s curse gives a crap about a power plant is, like every other plot element in the film, left to the viewer’s imagination. At least when they are being chased at the power plant, its a nice break from when they are being chased in the woods and chased in the town.
The Hollow is your most basic stalk and kill TV movie, whose dopey backstory doesn’t even really matter to the present day monster attacks as nothing about what happened in 1915 helps to survive the monster (the sun simply comes up and kills off the monster) and where characters have to pull out every dumb horror movie trick imaginable to keep themselves in jeopardy (splitting up, being loud, fighting among themselves, falling down and injuring a leg after running three steps).
Other than the bargain basement Groot running around giving people splinters, The Hollow is a low budget and even more low imagination effort whose repetitive monster attacks and lack of anything else will leave you feeling like those witches one hundred years ago – cursing and burned.
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