17th Sep2021

‘Hall’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Yumiko Shaku, Carolina Bartczak, Julian Richings, Vlasta Vrana, Mark Gibson, Bailey Thain, Kathleen Fee | Written by Derrick Adams, Francesco Giannini, Adam Kolodny | Directed by Francesco Giannini

Often, the best movies tell a very simple story but they tell that story extremely well and Hall, featured at both Frightfest and Blood in the Snow festivals, is no different. From the very start we see a group of people in a hotel hallway, struggling with a debilitating sickness that seems to have spread through them all, each trying to escape the horror of it.

Like I say, this is all in the opening scene so where does it go from there? Well maybe unsurprisingly the movie goes back in time to show us some of the stories about why people are in the hotel and the issues they are having there. The locations don’t stray away from the hotel though and this feels like a very constrained and claustrophobic movie.

The two main stories focus on two women and them trying to escape the men they are in relationships with. We see these to women meet and talk but neither understands what the other is going through. Naomi (Yumiko Shaku) is pregnant and escaping the father of her soon to be born baby, while Val (Carolina Bartczak) is staying at the hotel with her partner and father of their daughter, and their daughter. But she is desperate and soon planning on leaving secretly with her daughter. Partly because of the script and partly because Shaku and Bartczak put in great performances, these stories are engrossing and would still be so even without the genre-element of the movie. You want to see what happens with these characters and you want to see happy endings for them. Maybe it would have been nice to see other characters stories but this could have easily kept the focus away on the ones already in place.

Hall doesn’t answer all the questions it puts out there but it answers some important ones and lets its viewers fill in other gaps. The horror part of the movie almost plays second fiddle to everything else but it is clearly there. The effects used to show how the victims are effected is good and it almost becomes a zombie movie without any actual zombies. Maybe the very beginning of a zombie outbreak. The most horror-filled part of the movie is the score and it’s fantastic. Really ramping up the tension and the creepiness throughout the movie. Listening on headphones, I couldn’t get enough of the completely unnerving score.

As directing débuts go, Francesco Giannini’s Hall is very good. I was surprised to read the it was written and shot pre-pandemic because not only does it have the feel of being shot during the pandemic (small amount of locations and staff) but it’s story is very fitting for the time we are leaving in. This will hit home for many people and captures that sense of dread many people have been feeling.

At less than eighty minutes long, there’s absolutely no reason not to recommend Hall. This creepy, story-driven horror will grab hold of you and not let you go.

Hall is available on UK Digital Download and On Demand now.


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