If you can, imagine for a second a time before "The Blair Witch Project" stormed on to the scene and changed the world of horror films forever. Before anyone coined the term, "Found Footage Film" or got motion sickness from some idiot holding the camera that can't hold the frame steady for one single second. Before a time when actors who really aren't actors at all tried to make us believe that what we were seeing actually happened. Before a time when that particular genre went from meager low budget beginnings ("Paranormal Activity") to more elaborate productions ("Cloverfield"). Now, swap out "Blair Witch" with the new film from director Michael Axelgaard "Hollow" and you will have a slight idea of what type of film this is and why it is so disappointing on nearly every front.
In case that exhaustive set up didn't catch on with you, "Hollow" is a throwback to the infancy of the found footage phenomenon. It is a near carbon copy of everything that made "The Blair Witch Project" so successful. The problem lies with how it also mimics everything we have come to hate and loathe about this particular sub genre as well. What we have here is a group of friends conveniently sectioned off as two couples, one couple at a turning point in their relationship and another just getting started. They of course decide to go on a trip to a secluded area where it is heavily rumored that a curse of some sort has been responsible for a multitude of suicides beginning all the way back in the 17th century. The curse and all the mythology surrounds an old tree that resides happily in the middle of an eerily open meadow. It's long branches have been the dropping point for many lovelorn couples that have felt the need to end it all with a rope fashioned into a noose and a good bit of gravity.
"Hollow" was doomed from the start though by succumbing to the genre's greatest fault, stupid characters doing stupid things. Who these people are is of no real importance. The film tries to get us involved in their lives but they are often times so unlikeable and so idiotic that it is near impossible to feel anything but anger and contempt towards them. The fact that they thought it was a good idea to go hang out in a house with no electricity, miles away from any sign of civilization and right down the road from a gigantic creepy ass tree that has been suspected of killing young couples JUST LIKE THEM for centuries now is not exactly the best qualities you can instill in your lead characters. The excruciatingly slow pace of the film doesn't help either with absolutely nothing of any real importance EVER happening until perhaps the final 20 minutes when we finally get to see these idiots suffer for their ignorance.
There is a reason why the found footage format has moved away from the formula set up by "The Blair Witch Project" and that is because that formula was severely flawed with little to no redeeming values. It only worked that one time because it was new and the internet was still just barely starting to come alive so the filmmakers were able to pull the wool over everyones eyes. Making a film exactly like that in this day and age is unforgivable, even more so when you realize that it is still inferior to the originator it so desperately tries to emulate. Just about the only redeeming part of "Hollow" comes in its final moments when we get see them all dangling from that tree in response to their complete and utter ineptitude towards all forms of logic and clear thinking. Suffice to say, your time would be much better spent doing ANYTHING other than watching "Hollow".