Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
May 1st, 2016

Hollows Grove

Hollows Grove
Directed by Craig Efros
Written by Craig Efros
Starring Mykelti Williamson, Lance Henriksen, Matthew Carey
81 mins

There are certain phrases that you never want to hear should you find yourself in the midst of a horror movie. Some we already know and love--or loathe--like "What could go wrong?" or "I'll be right back." Others are comparatively recent and therefore less known, and among these has to be "let's go ghost hunting at the abandoned orphanage." That's just what we'll be facing down with Hollows Grove, a movie that proves that horror movies can go anywhere as long as no one cares about casualty counts.

Hollows Grove takes a young filmmaker, a group of reality-show producing friends, and sends them all on one of the dumbest ideas ever: to investigate reports of hauntings in the abandoned orphanage noted previously. Naturally, while involved in said investigation, it becomes clear that the orphanage is as haunted as they expected, and probably substantially more so. Getting out of said orphanage, however, will prove to be a much more complex task.

A bit of good news comes early as we discover that Lance Henriksen is involved in this, ensuring that we'll have at least one good quality performance involved here. However, if I never see his naked backside again, it will be too soon. Follow this up with a surprisingly convincing text crawl shot noting that this footage is classified, and that viewing it without the direct consent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be "considered a felony," and we've got a noteworthy start here. It's a crock, of course, as the FBI has no more control over what's considered classified than a rainbow trout has over the stock market, but it's still a point in its favor.

I began to wonder if we might be in a parody situation when I saw the name of the ghost hunting team: the Spirit and Paranormal Investigation Team. You can compress the acronym yourself, but I recommend against drinking anything lest you do a Spirit and Paranormal Investigation Team take.

That changed fairly quickly, however, with some noteworthy scares creeping in and a surprisingly atmospheric affair shot through with occasional bits of comedy. I'm pleased by the good level of scare going on in here, and even with the extra details that sometimes crop up just out of notice. That makes for added benefit for anyone who's paying close attention, and close attention should be rewarded. That's not to say there's no value in the visceral, but extra benefit is extra benefit.

The ending has its share of issues, but will wrap things up reasonably well. Fair warning: stick around after the credits for an extra shot.

Special features include trailers for "Amy," "Cloned: The Recreator Chronicles," "The Employer," and "Hollows Grove." Deleted scenes, a featurette on the cast and characters, and a featurette on working with Lance Henriksen are also included. Finally, you'll have your choice of audio options and English subtitles.

A mundane premise delivers on the execution in grand fashion in "Hollows Grove", and brings comedy and horror in a beautiful mixture to deliver one of the best, scariest ghost-hunting horror titles around. In a field that's often regarded as a low-rent cash grab, this one shows us the real value of excellent execution.