The Hallow sees Corin Hardy make his directoral debut in this thrilling survival horror. This highly-anticipated movie not only shot its promo pictures at Sussex’s Gun Hill Studios (shown here) but is also set to premiere in Crawley on Friday 13th (November).
To make the most of his time in the county, we decided to sit down with Corin to talk about the film, what scares him and what’s next.
What is The Hallow about?
It’s about a conservationist and his wife and baby who move to the wilds of Ireland where he discovers something strange in the forest he is inspecting. Later that night something comes from the forest and shows up at the house. Something dangerous.
What was the inspiration behind the film?
Fairy tales. I wanted to make a fairy-tale for adults that was grounded in reality. Something that could be scary and exciting.
Is the story based on any specific tale or legend?
It’s based on a lot of mythology and folk-lore and ideas and rules found in fairy tales and the old Irish mythology. I wanted to use ideas that could translate in a visual and visceral, cinematic way.
How did you find the process of making The Hallow?
It was the culmination of many years of preparation and a big challenge to pull off, but I love challenges and I’m really proud of what we achieved and that it’s now about to be released in the cinema.
What challenges did you face during and post-production?
Making a film like this meant challenges at every turn, aiming high and having to always work within the limitations of a tight budget and tight schedule. Always pushing to try and ensure that the vision remains true to the original intentions and to strive for the highest quality possible in terms of effects, actors, cinematography, effects, sound, score and locations.
I had a great team and dedicated producers who saw it through with me and I planned everything meticulously and storyboarded the whole film to be as prepared as possible for when we needed to adapt or compromise under pressure.
What makes this film stand out above others that have previously used a similar concept?
With horror you have certain conventions and mechanisms. If you know what they are you can embrace them and set things up in a conventional way, which I wanted to at first, but then the fun lies in taking the story in unexpected directions or to build in increasing tension in ways that surprise you.
In this case, by making a film based around certain fairy/folk mythology, it was an opportunity to envisage a ‘new monster’ and create something you did not know how it would behave. The real ancient stories of fairies portrays them in a much darker, more manipulative, terrifying way and they are prone to tearing the lives of humans apart. I thought it would be exciting to explore what it might be like to spend a night in the presence of these malicious beings.
After your directoral debut with The Hallow, how do you feel about the final outcome and would you change anything?
It’s the movie I set out to make, and of course it’d be easy to want to go back an change things because work evolves and it’s hard to let go of, but getting it into Sundance Film Festival in January and many International festivals followed by this Friday’s release makes me very happy.
How big a part did effects and CGI have to play in The Hallow?
I like to mix techniques. It was always my aim to try and do as much practically as possible using prosthetics, animatronics, puppetry and live performers as a base and then to introduce VFX and some cgi in limited ways to create an illusion; you cannot pin down as easily as ‘it’s just cgi’. I believe when you mix techniques based around the specific shot or scene, you can create the most successful result.
Who’s in the cast and why were they chosen?
I had been a fan and an admirer of Joseph Mawle’s authentic and moving performances for many years, he’s a chameleon and I wanted to find the equivalent of Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs or Sigourney Weaver in Alien or Jeff Goldblum in The Fly and I felt that Joe could bring that kind of power to a leading man in an everyday way. Believable emotions in a horror movie.
Bojana Novakovic did the best audition for Claire and made me terrified of what ever she appeared to be seeing off camera and I liked her in Devil & Drag Me To Hell. Getting Michael McElhatton and Michael Smiley sealed the deal, both of them were amazing to work with and brought another level of quality to the proceedings.
What scares you?
When and where can people in Sussex see The Hallow?
This Friday 13th November – “Hallow Friday”. In Sussex the closest is Crawley Cineworld. I will be there! Please try and get to the cinema, it’s the place intended to see The Hallow! Take a friend to hold your hand, or a gang armed with popcorn. Everyone’s entitled to a good scare!
What does the future hold for yourself?
I am directing a new version of The Crow next. Watch this space.