Opening like it’s going to be a redneck version of The Bad Lieutenant with Deputy Ray Everett (writer/director Miles Doleac), getting a bj from a meth addict while high as hell. However it goes off in another more conventional direction after he gives a couple looking for a hotel for the night directions to the title location as a joke. Come morning they’re dead, part of a triple homicide along with Kami (Portia Walls) his partner from the opening scene. All of which could probably have been swept under a rug and forgotten except the girl is the daughter of a US Senator which gets the FBI involved.
In many ways The Hollow is the perfect B movie, a twisty plot with all manner of hidden secrets that threaten to destroy people, a mystery wrapped in a portrait of rural Southern life and corruption. From Big John Dawson (William Forsythe in a wonderfully villainous performance) the man who runs things in town to Adam Markey (David Warshofsky) as the high school principle who was also entirely to close to Kami. Even the FBI agents Vaughn Killinger (James Callis) and Sarah Desoto (Christiane Seidel) aren’t so clean. With their partnership extending beyond the professional and his drinking problem they have their own devils to deal with, ones they’ll have to keep a grip on as they try to solve a case where it seems everyone is either a suspect or protecting somebody who might be.
The cast and atmosphere carry the film, as the mystery at times seems to take a backseat to the other intrigues going on. The cast is prime B movie ensemble, plenty of familiar, talented faces with a couple of bigger names in smaller roles and they work well together to make what could have turned into an overly melodramatic potboiler into into a tense little thriller. That they make can make us care about these characters, none of whom we would call heroic, most of whom we’d have to stretch to even call good, is really a testament to their talent.
At just over two hours it does run a bit long for it’s own good, but it does hold on to your interest despite the slower spots. And it’s not like there’s really anything so extraneous it could be cut, it just could be told in a more compact way.
Uncork’d Entertainment will be releasing The Hollow on VOD and limited theatrical bookings on October 7th. While it’s not a film that could sustain a major release it’s good to see a smaller film like this get a chance to be seen on a big screen even if in many ways it’s more suited to a drive in screen. And yes, that is a compliment.