06th Jun2019

‘Hallowed Ground’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Lindsay Anne Williams, Sherri Eakin, Ritchie Montgomery, Creek Wilson, Miles Doleac, Jeremy Sande, Cotton Yancey, Michael Randall, Ella Claire Bennett, Wesley O’Mary, Dan Ellzey | Written and Directed by Miles Doleac

Hallowed-Ground_KA_DVD_Final

Hallowed Ground is a horror movie that doesn’t waste any time in pulling you in as a viewer. The opening scene itself giving you a good idea of what you might be in store for.

Written by Miles Doleac, whose previous directing and writing work included features Demons (2017), The Hollow (2016) and The Historian (2014), Hallowed Ground follows the tale of a married couple who attempt to fix their marriage after turbulent times involving cheating and drifting apart, so they take a trip to a cabin in the middle of nowhere in order to get some time together. While there, they encounter Native American owners of the cabin, and a nearby clan, who are embarking on a not-so-pleasant feud over the land. Blood is spilled and war is waged as the clash between these two sides builds.

The concept of Hallowed Ground feels both familiar and very fresh in different ways. The blood feud and the location itself make for an intriguing plot, the violence between the cult of settlers (or un-settlers as I prefer to think of them as) and the Native American owners is built up fantastically, and the tension really makes this feel like we’re always on the edge of impending death or doom. There’s a lot going on here, with the blood feud at the heart of the story, and the tale of two people trying to find what was lost between them as a couple offering a little something different in between, a quiet before the storm aspect to the film. I thought it was all balanced well, and there wasn’t a moment I felt that the story dragged too much or felt particularly forced, it takes its time, doesn’t rush things.

There’s some bloody great scenes of horror in here, it must be said. It is grisly at times and disturbed in all the right ways, and at all the right moments. There are elements of old-school exploitation once the sequences of crimson mayhem and torturous torment begins, and I loved that about it. There’s enough drama and backstory to give real soul and depth to Hallowed Ground, but before you tire of those slower moments, it jumps right in there with the horror, bringing visceral violence and psychological anguish like it’s going out of fashion. There’s a real cult feel to it, the chanting, the blind devotion and the macabre robes, it ups the creepiness factor with these scenes for sure.

The performances all work well, with standouts for me being Lindsay Anne Williams as Alice, Sherri Eakin as Vera and Miles Doleac himself as Bill Barham. What a top-notch role Barham is. The whole cast, though, do a good job at telling the story and creating a setting full of building animosity, tension and a dark atmosphere. Sure, it can perhaps feel drawn out, though as a fan of a slow-burning horror film, I didn’t personally mind that. It does what it sets out to do, and does it well.

Intense and unhinged, Hallowed Ground ticks all the boxes. A good horror movie that does something different while at the same time harkening back to days where horror films relied as much on the dark gloom of discomfort as they did on the cutting and slicing.

Hallowed Ground is in select US theaters on June 7th, and releases on VOD/DVD June 11th.

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