Movie review: Valentine (2001)

Valentine 2001

Synopsis: A group of school friends find themselves hunted by a Valentine-sending, masked killer.

Director: Bruce McDonald

Starring: David Boreanez, Denise Richards, Marley Shelton

Review: I originally watched this as a huge fan of Boreanez (I was massively into Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the time). It was part of a glut of similar movies (including Urban Legend, the ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer series, and Scream to name a few) starring semi-well-know actors who were all murdered in various ways by mysterious killers.

The premise is much the same for all these movies: a group of friends has a shared history, during which they caused harm to someone, in this instance the group of girls were rude to a young boy ‘Jeremy Melton’, who comes back years later to exact his revenge.

There’s little to make this movie stand out (unless you’re a fan of Boreanez). The performances are fairly standard, with Richards playing the over-sexed vixen she seems to have been type-cast as, Broeanez playing it pretty similar to his Angel character and Shelton seeming to be permanently annoyed (possibly for agreeing to do this movie). None of the characters are particularly nice, especially the assorted males who hit on the girls – they’re overtly lechy, rude and unprofessional that it’s unbelievable and you sort of wish the killer would do us all a favour and ‘off’ them so save us their performances. As for the girl, it’s hard to see why their friendship as survived, as aside from attending parties together, they don’t have any camaraderie, so really it’s just a matter of waiting to see what way they’ll be murdered. Valentine is sadly not a gift for your loved one, but like a bad date, once it’s over, you never need to see it again.


How are you all enjoying ‘Women in Horror Month’? I am really enjoying celebrating women writers, directors and more, as well as having my socks scared off daily!  As part of my daily challenge, here is my ghostly short story ‘Reborn’.


He tried his best to contain his excitement as the small bundle was pushed into the cave, but the little squeal that started deep in his stomach burst past what passed for his lips, alerting the others. Soon, seven little ghosts were looking at the dozing baby, wrapped in thick woollen blankets to stave off the chill of the cave.

‘A baby,’ whispered one of the ghosts, slowing stretching one of her rainbow coloured tentacles towards it. She screeched as the stinger of one of her companions penetrated the tentacle. The rainbow colours rapidly dulled to black and it hung uselessly against her gelatinous body.

‘Don’t touch that child,’ her attacker warned. He was shaped like a foot, with three large toes, each with a sharp stinger on the end.

A third ghost moved between them, his two frilled antennae gently separating Rainbow and Toes. The antennae were attached to a spherical, clear body in which bobbed an ever watchful eye. The Watcher spun his antennae gracefully upwards, mindful not to touch the dripping walls of the cave.

‘Now, we must not disturb the child until the decision is made.’ His eye spun and one of his antennae whipped out at one of the ghosts who dared get too close to the child.

A bell-shaped ghost edged towards the group. He rippled as he spoke, the oily surface of his skin reflecting what little light penetrated the cave, ‘But which of us is it to be?’

Rainbow swatted the Watcher’s antennae away and drifted closer to the child, the others ready to pounce on her if she touched the pink, warm skin. ‘It should be me. My son needs me,’ she said, her voice breaking a little.

Bellringer pulsed as he laughed, ‘Your son’s been dead for generations, you stupid witch. Your pathetic attempts at magic were no more effective than that fools attempt to kill a god.’

The antennae folded around the Watcher. ‘I would have killed him, had I have had more men,’ he huffed.

A worm-shaped ghost with a spotted crest inched closer. ‘Your army was washed away by the same god you were trying to kill.’ Her crest quivered as she giggled.

‘His plan was no more ludicrous than taking a life just so you can keep your bath filled,’ a small, furry ghost muttered.

The Worm writhed angrily. ‘You mock me? I was trying to keep my youth. You were taking body parts to try to rebuild your deceased mother. That’s ludicrous,’ she shrilled.

The ghosts froze as the walls of the cave shifted, dislodging stones, dust and salt residue that the dripping water left behind. Several of the ghosts cried out as the salt hit them, causing their skin to sizzle and peel.

‘Be quiet,’ hissed a diamond-shaped ghost, the small spikes which covered his body clicking in agitation. ‘Any more loud noises will kill us all.’

The ghosts watched in silence as the dust slowly floated down, each all too aware of the nature of their prison. Only when the constant dripping of the water from the walls had resumed and the last particles of dust had hit the floor did they dare to speak.

‘The child is mine,’ proclaimed the Watcher, ‘I have had time to realise my mistakes and will not make them again.’

‘Which mistake is that? Attempting to kill a water god by stabbing the water?’ mocked Bellringer.

The Watcher snorted. ‘No. I need more men. Then, I’ll kill the water gods.’

Toes flexed his toes and flicked out his stingers. ‘Pah! You talk of killing a god. I plan to resurrect one! I was one kill away from my thirteenth and then my dark lord would have arisen from his fiery pit.’

‘It should be me,’ said the Worm. ‘I meant no harm, merely to bring beauty to the world. My beauty.’ Her crest rippled, the spots reflecting the dull light.

The hairs on Fuzzball bristled. ‘No! I should go. Mother needs me,’ he whined. The Watcher slapped Fuzzball with one of his antennae, sending him spinning dangerously close to the salt-covered walls. Fuzzball hissed in anger but dared not move closer to the group.

‘I had ‘em running scared, those filthy whores. Let me go back so I can finish the job. I can still remember the feeling as my knife gutted ‘em. Gotta cleanse the streets. Vermin they are, running around spreading disease every time they spread their legs. I’ll slice ‘em up real pretty with my knife.’

‘Please, you don’t understand. My son is at war and I need to keep him safe. If I continue making the sacrifices, he comes home to me,’ begged Rainbow.

The ghosts huddled together, arguing. Their movements causing a blur of colours until it was difficult to discern one from the other.

A short, sharp whistle brought them all to a stop and they turned to see Diamond-spike floating near the dripping wall.

‘You pathetic creatures. You argue and fight for the right to be reborn, for your petty beliefs or desires. You all want a chance to return and continue doing whatever ridiculous thing it was that got you sent here. But me? I was born evil they said, never had a chance to go topside.’

‘You mean, you’ve never….’ Rainbow trailed off.

‘If you’ve never been up there, then what right do you have to claim the child?’ demanded Toes.

Diamond-Spike spun lazily, his spikes grazing the wall but he didn’t flinch as the salt burned his skin. A slash of a grin appeared on one side of his body. ‘I seen a lot of your types come and go. All have their reasons for killing, for pleasure, for pain, their gods to serve or sacrifice. Some got ideas about purifying their race, others about keeping loved ones alive. But me?’ Diamond-Spike let the question hang in the air between him and the other ghosts. The others drew closer to him, eager to know his reasons for being sent to the cave. Diamond-Spike’s grin grew larger.

‘But me?’ he repeated, ‘I got a plan.’

He spun, flinging the droplets of salty water which had accumulated on his spikes at the other ghosts. They all howled and screamed as their bodies began to smoke.

Diamond-Spike floated down to the baby who had begun to stir with all the noise. The child gazed at the tiny speck which bobbed in front of its eyes. However, it let out a scream as Diamond-Spike forced himself inside its nose. The child thrashed its chubby arms around as a small droplet of blood dribbled from its nose and across its face. As quickly as it had started crying, it stopped, its blue eyes turning to black with tiny blood-red flecks. A thin grin spread across the baby’s face and it disappeared leaving the other ghosts in complete darkness.


If you enjoyed this short story, check out to my other free fiction. Feel free to add links to your short stories below or on my Facebook page.

Movie Review: The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook movie poster 2014

Synopsis: A widow and her son battle with an evil entity in their home. Don’t invite in the Babadook!

Director: Jennifer Kent

Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman

Review: I first watched the Babadook when my daughter was first born and I remember being terrified. I couldn’t watch it all in one sitting and had to watch the rest during the day whilst the baby slept as I was too scared to watch it at night.

So, I wondered how I would feel, watching it nearly four years later with the benefit of dealing with my own little bundle of trouble (although thankfully no Babadook!).

Well, I was still terrified! In many respects, my situation is completely opposite to that of Davis’ character but I have a definite feel for the exhaustion felt by a mother when you’ve got a child who hasn’t slept for an extended period, coupled with the demands of a job, keeping house and all the other pressures both external and internal.

Davis has rightly been lauded as she gives a fantastically nuanced performance of an exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed single mother caring for a troubled child whilat also grieving for her husband. Her character is trying to manage so many things without support from her family, no real friends and a child with very specific needs. Her son, played by Wiseman also deserves huge praise for excelling is a very challenging role. I’m always impressed with child actors who are able to display a maturity in their performance well beyond their years and should he continue to follow an acting path, then I expect we’ll see more stellor performances from him.

However, the kudos belongs to writer and director Kent.  This project was born from a 10minute short caleed ‘Monster‘ she wrote and directed. Nearly ten years later the story was still nagging at her and she expanded it to create ‘The Babadook’. Kent’s other credits include directing an episode of a TV show, acting and producing. She truly has a rounded knowledge of the industry and this is evident with the slick delivery of ‘The Babadook’.

From the first instant, the movie has you on edge and it doesn’t release you until the final few scenes. Kent’s use of different colours to signify moods works well, with the bright sunlight of time spent outside in contrast to the blues and greys of their home. This lighting lends itself well to the scary scenes which are light enough to see the action, unlike some horror movies where I have no idea who is running in terror etc as it’s too dark to see anything.

The script, for the most part, is sharply written and Kent’s observations of looking after a child, as well as pressures placed on parents both by society and themselves are dealt with well. The scene where the group of mums are sympathising with Davis’ ‘Amelia’ whilst also silently judging her is spot on and something I know a lot of mothers have endured. Amelia’s isolation in this scene, reflected both in the fact that the colour of her dress is different to the muted colours of the ‘popular’ mum gang, as well as having her seated whilst the other mums are standing at the opposite end of the table is a scene which has stuck in my memory. It’s not overtly horrific but it’s one of the more run-of-the-mill daily encounters which resonated with me, and one which I experienced more the second time I watched it because like ‘Amelia’ I’ve had to find my voice to stand up to others who have judged my parenting style.

It’s an intimate movie in many ways, with the bulk just playing out between Davis and Wiseman. Keeping other characters at arms length works well to help build up the tension of what lurks in the house as well as the sense of isolation felt by ‘Amelia’. The creepiness of the book as well as the lack of explantion as to where the Babadook comes from is works well. Sometimes the over-explanation of where the ‘big bad’ is from slows down the pacing and doesn’t add anything so it’s lack allows speculation and for the viewer to create their own scary ideas.

Overall, I loved this movie. There were a few minor niggles I had but then, everyone’s a critic and they didn’t stop me from enjoying this movie. It’s one I’ll definitely be watching again, although hopefully not from behind a pillow!

If you’ve enjoyed this review, have a look at the other movies I’ve reviewed.

Women in Horror Month: Witch Wednesday

Crochet witch my bluebeaglebabyI have always loved witches. Probably my first was the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ from ‘The Wizard of Oz’. I was terrified by completely absorbed at the same time. I still remember the feeling of watching her on the TV, screetching ‘I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!’

From there, I started reading ‘The Worst Witch’ and I still remember the mishaps poor Mildred Hubble got in to. I was obsessed with those books (though never really got into the TV shows) and remember being constantly in trouble with my teachers because I refused to do up my shoelaces like my favourite heroine.

I was then terrified by the witches in Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’. The way they peeled off their ‘human’ forms still gives me the shivers and of course, their penchant for eating children! It did cause me to look at women, specifically those wearing gloves, very suspiciously for a long time after.

I think it was around this time that I discovered the Addams Family. They were either a Sunday morning show or something I’d  watch after Blue Peter, I can’t remember but I adored Morticia and her outlook on life. It was equal measure realistic and also depressing. I have loved the assorted actresses who have played her by my personal favourite is Anjelica Huston. Whilst Morticia is never explicitly referred to as a witch, her mother is, so I always assumed she was too, she’d certainly put a spell on Gomez!

These were three of my favourite witches but I could have mentioned so many more, including the girls from ‘The Craft‘, ‘Sabrina‘ or the very scary series of comics by Cullen Bunn ‘Harrow County‘ published by Dark Horse Comics.

Who are your favourite witches? Let me know in the comments below. Don’t forget to follow all my Women in Horror Month posts, right here on my blog.

Women in Horror Month: Tuesday Team Ups

Welcome back to my Daily Challenge for Women In Horror Month. How are you enjoying it to far? Today we’re looking at ‘team ups’. I’ll be honest, when I thought of this prompt, I was in the midst of a ‘Supernatural’ rewatch and had planned to post assorted photos of the Winchester brothers (as an aside, are you Team Dean, Team Sam or Team Castiel?).

For some reason, women in genre often fall into different categories: the slut, the geek, the survivor, the frenemy, the bitch, stereotypes lampooned somewhat in ‘Cabin in the Woods’. I get frustrated that so few movies reflect the friendships I have and see all around me. We’re not all the bitchy, underwear flaunting, ditzy, serial killer fodder were portrayed. In my experience, my girlfriends are supportive, funny and I know they have my back. Having worked on the collective project ‘Girls’ Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse’ I also know that we can work together to create something fantastic without resorting to bitchiness or pillow fights in our undies.

However, I got thinking: whilst I could name half a dozen male ‘teams’ in horror, sci fi or fantasy, I struggled to name a team of women who joined together to beat the big bad so my focus shifted and here we are, celebrating women’s friendship in the midst of terror!

It’s not an exhaustive list, so feel free to add your favourites below.

Sidney Prescott, and Tatum Riley (Scream). Poor Sidney has been going through a tough time since the murder of her mother but her trusty friend Tatum has been at her side, fiercely protecting her whilst also giving her a shoulder to cry on.

Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). One of the most formidable teams on my list, a Slayer and a witch but these two girls were firmly bound by friendship. What I also love is that twenty years later Sarah Michelle Geller and Alyson Hannigan are still friends!

Julie James and Helen Shivers (I Know What You Did Last Summer). First they work together tocover up their involvement in a hit and run, then join together to find the serial killer targeting their group. What else are girlfriends for?

Hongryeon and Jangwan (A Tale of Two Sisters). I love this movie as you can see from my review. Sisters don’t always get on, but when joined in a battle against an evil step mother, they do well.

Katniss Everdeen and Rue (The Hunger Games). Many in the Capitol grew uncomfortable when Katniss volunteered to take her sisters place in The Hunger Games but it was when she teamed up with Rue that the seeds of revolution were firmly sown. Fans of Suzanne Collins book and the film will celebrate this poignant but beautiful friendship.

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy (assorted, most recently DC Comics).  These are two of my favourite femmes, even if they have been criminally underused in the assorted Batman franchises. I really enjoyed the juxposition of the unstable Harley with the studious and serious Ivy I’m the most recent comic release. That these two are now a couple is definite trouble for our favourite Bat, but brilliant for readers  I can’t wait to catch up on their adventures!

I’m sure I’ve missed loads of great female team ups so sound off in the comments below. And because I can’t help myself, here’s a picture of the Winchester brothers….

Women in Horror Month: First Scares

We all remember our firsts: first kiss, first holiday, first best friend, first home but do you remember the first thing which truly scared you?

Image of Phantom Raspberry Blower from Two Ronnies

When I was introducing Women In Horror Month I said that Horror was a very personal genre, and what may scare one person will cause another to laugh out loud (much like when hubby laughs at the end of Titanic when Leo slips into the water whilst I’m reaching for my third box of tissues!). The monsters, serial killers, things that go bump in the night, we all have our own triggers and effectively tapping in to those is what ultimately links writer and reader.

Phantom Raspberry Blower logo

My First Monster

Many UK readers will remember a comedy duo called ‘The Two Ronnies’. Their long-running skit show was a stable of weekend TV during the 80’s and I remember they had a long-running sketch featuring ‘The Phantom Raspberry Blower Of Old London Town’. I remember between the chatting farmers and endless stories from Ronnie Corbett there was a very dark sketch, loosely based on Jack the Ripper. The sketches followed the misadventures of a police officer trying to catch a killer who would ‘Raspberry’ his victims. It was all very tongue-in-cheek but I remember watching these skits through my fingers (much the same as others watched Dr Who from behind the sofa!). For years, the face of the ‘Raspberry Blower’ haunted me and doing a google search to find a picture for this piece, the terror returned. He reminds me a lot of the Babadook. What do you think?

My First Alien Encounter

I dontvremember the first time I saw ‘Alien’ or the sequels, although I did love Sigourney Weaver in all of them so I can’t say if I saw them before or after a movie which still gives me shivers today: Event Horizon.

Event Horizon movie poster

This is a family site so I won’t share any of the gorier images from the film but the synopsis is that a rescue mission is launched when the space ship ‘Event Horizon’ reappears after going missing. Turns out it wasn’t caught in a black hole, but rather somewhere far more demon-filled. It’s not soon before the evil crew decide decide to remind the rescue team of their own inner demons, slowly driving  team to madness. It’s gory, blood-filled and showcases a range of human emotions from guilt, despair and friendship. I remember being too terrified after watching this film I couldn’t drive home and I t’s still one of my favourite movies.

My First Serial Killer

I’d seen copies of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Halloween’ at friends houses and whilst they had creeped me out, none freaked me out the same way Scream did. I’m not a huge fan of serial killer movies, mostly because they follow the same format: a killer out for revenge slowly murders his victims one-by-one in ever more ridiculous ways until the sprightly protagonist overcomes him (and it’s usually a him) in the last act. However, Scream brought something new to the genre, highlighting the silliness of the genre as well as giving a number of Easter eggs for fans of horror. Yes, people die is impressive manners but I remember not being disapppointed when the credits started rolling and worse, I couldn’t answer the phone for weeks!

So, those are my most memorable ‘firsts’. Do you remember the first horror movie you saw? Do they still scare you now?

My Life and Death as a Plant

Daniel woke up and groaned. His mouth tasted awful, and his eyes were crusted over. His skin tingled, all the way from the base of his toes to the roots of his hair, feeling as if a thousand ants were skittering across his body. What the hell had they been drinking last night, he thought as he tried to move his aching limbs.

‘Let’s go out to the Wislow farm,’ suggested Sam, taking a swig from his can of beer. He belched loudly and laughed.
Billy grunted his agreement, too drunk to put up much of a discussion.
‘Dunno mate isn’t Old Mrs Wislow a bit odd,’ ventured John.
Sam jeered at his friend. ‘What’s wrong, you pussy? Afraid?’
‘Nah, mate, just something I heard. Bunch of people went up there to talk to her about burning her fields or cutting down trees or summ’at and didn’t come home,’ argued John.
‘Yeah, I heard that too,’ said Daniel. ‘I heard she’s a witch. Why don’t we just go to the woods? I can nick my brothers are air gun, we can shoot cans.’
‘You’re a bunch of pussies,’ shouted Sam, throwing his empty can at them. ‘Get in the car you mummy’s boys and let’s go find your balls.’
Daniel and John looked at each other and didn’t move. Even in their drunken states, they remembered the stories of what went on up at Wislow Farm.
‘Oi!’ shouted Sam, blaring the car horn. Billy was slumped in the back seat, snoring loudly.
John shrugged and walked towards the car, Daniel dragging his feet behind him.

Daniel’s neck was stiff and shrieked with pain when he attempted to move his head. He’d had bad hangovers before but nothing like this. Perhaps Sam had slipped something into his drinks? Nah. He could be a dick, but spiking drinks wasn’t really Sam’s style. More likely he had caught a cold or something, running around the Wislow farm in the middle of the night.

Sam had crashed into the fence leading to Wislow’s farm. They had fallen out of the car, spilling cans and rubbish in their wake. Daniel and John helped drag Billy out of the car and dumped him by the boot. Sam screeched with laughter as Billy slid down the side of the car and face planted in a bubble of mud. A wind whipped around them, icy tendrils piercing their thin coats, sobering Daniel and John. Sam had strutted towards the small house, the pathway leading to the door was lined with pots of herbs and to one side was a vegetable patch. Candle-light danced in one of the ground-floor windows but it otherwise looked deserted. The wind caught the door of the shed to the right of the house, the banging causing all the boys to jump.
‘This place is shit,’ moaned Sam, throwing stones towards the shed, smashing one of the small windows.
‘Let’s just go, mate,’ said Daniel, kicking the flower pots over and stamping on the plants. ‘Billy’s out of his head. It’s cold and there’s nothing going on.’
‘Witch my arse. Load of bullshit and you wankers were scared. Alright, we can go smash up windows around the school.’ Sam kicked the flowers again and stomped over to his friends, roughly grabbing Billy and pulling him to his feet. He staggered under the weight of his friend as he turned. ’Where’s the car?’
Daniel spun. The car which had been nudging the fence-post was gone.

The skin on his hands felt as rough as sandpaper and flexing his fingers was an effort as Daniel slowly remembered the details of the night before. He remembered running and falling so perhaps he’d badly skinned his hands. That would explain the rough scabs. Man, he felt rough. He should have listened to his mum. She’d never liked Sam and said he would get Daniel into trouble. Well, starting now, Sam was no longer his friend. He was done with all his crap. Last night was the final straw. He’d not wanted to go to Wislow’s Farm, it was dumb and now he hurt all over. A sound behind him made him attempt to wrench his neck around, causing a loud crack as his vertebrae popped yet he saw nothing.

John’s focus had not shifted from the house since they arrived. He stood, unmoving whilst his friends looked for the car.
He slowly raised his arm, pointing to the front door.
Daniel grabbed John’s arm. ‘What are you pointing at? Stop arsing around and help us find the car. John refused to move. ‘’Oi, Sam, get over here. John’s gone nuts,’ shouted Daniel.
Sam tried to turn around but was hampered by trying to hold up a semi-conscious Billy. Finally, dragging his friend, Sam turned. He frowned, following John’s arm.
He dropped Billy and ran into the trees.
‘What the fu….?’ muttered Daniel. A yelp behind him and he turned to find that John had disappeared. Spinning, he heard Billy groan but just as Daniel moved to help Billy up from the ground, he slid across the ground in the direction of the shed, his hands grabbing at unseen hands squeezing his neck.
‘What did you do to my garden?’ a voice screamed from the house. Daniel didn’t see the face of the witch but heard her cane smacking the stone footpath as she hobbled along the path. He turned and ran. Then it all went dark.

Daniel’s eyes were still stuck closed. He tried to move his hand to remove the gunk from his eyes before remembering the crustiness covering his fingers. He tried flexing them again, then wiggling his hands but they barely moved an inch. Trying not to panic, Daniel focussed on moving his legs but like his hands, they wouldn’t twitch. He couldn’t feel anything binding him or holding him down yet he couldn’t turn his head or open his eyes to check. Becoming frantic, he strained his eyes, silently begging them to open. He rocked his entire body but nothing happened. He was stuck.
‘Ah, I see you’re waking up,’ a voice cackled. Daniel tried to move his head to find out where the voice was coming from but despite his straining couldn’t sense anything.
‘Don’t bother to move my little pretties. You damaged a lot of my crops last night and winter’s coming in. I need to restock my shelves, else I’ll go hungry.’
Daniel felt himself being lifted and heard ceramic hit as he was put down. ‘Now, you’re lucky my boy. I’ve strung up your friends in my shed. I think their meat will cure nicely. Whilst I’m waiting I’ve decided to have a nice leg of brat for my dinner, and whilst it’s already beer-soaked, I will need some herbs to go with it.’ Daniel felt his arm being tugged, then excruciating pain. He opened his mouth to scream but all he could taste was dirt. ‘I think this rosemary would go lovely,’ the old witch laughed, ‘But maybe I need more.’ Daniel screamed as the witch continued pulling pieces off of him.

Rosemary bush

If you’ve enjoyed this story, check out my other free fiction.

Movie Review: Hollow Creek (2016)

Hollow Creek 2016 cover

Hollow Creek 2016 cover

Synopsis: A horror novelist and his lover escape to a remote cabin in Hollow Creek whilst he works on his latest novel but it’s not long before spooky occurrences put a strain on the lovebirds

Director: Guisela Moro

Starring: Guilsela Moro, Steve Daron, Burt Reynolds

Review: I’ll be honest, the reason I watched ‘Hollow Creek‘ was that I was curious to see what Burt Reynolds was up to nowadays. Given the low score on IMDB I wasn’t overly hopeful but I was pleasantly surprised.

As well as directing and starring, Moro also wrote the screenplay (with Daron collaborating). There’s a lot going on in the movie, with the relationship challenges between Moro and Daron, Daron’s writer’s block, missing children and more. In some respects, having so much backstory for the characters makes for a slightly muddled and unevenly paced movie but I understand the writer’s choices for including it. It’s said that an author’s work contains elements of themselves and I think this is true of this movie, with certain comments reflecting a conservative, Catholic upbringing.

I liked the colour palate Moro used and it definitely added to the atmosphere of the movie in my opinion: hues of blue for Daron, Green for Moro and darker greys when there are supernatural occurrences or danger. Moro proves herself an adept director, especially given this is only her second directorial feature and there are few of the unnecessary or wasted shots more experienced directors are guilty of. I would say that I found the ending a little cliche and silly, but given the build-up, I’m unsure of how else they could have ended the film.

The acting can be patchy, including from the leads and this is highlighted by Reynold’s restrained performance. The scenes with the police officers, in particular, I found annoying and wishing they were over. I’m not sure if this was due to the acting or the cliched writing, but they did slow the pace of the movie. The scenes involving Daron’s editor also slow the pace and I don’t feel add anything to the film. Despite the uneven acting, it was still watchable and viewers should not be put off.

I can understand why there are a number of people for whom this movie didn’t work: there’s no gore, limited violence and much of the supernatural aspects are kept to a minimum, although they do provide a ‘jump’ when they happen. It’s also a real mixture of relationship drama, supernatural horror, crime and mystery. I feel the low score it’s been given on IMDB is unfair, as there are higher rated movies which do not have the care that Hollow Creek does. As I said above, there’s a lot to cram into a movie just shy of two hours. However, it definitely worth a visit to Hollow Creek.