“A TV crew of ghost-hunting pranksters set up scares in abandoned houses and claim they are caused by real specters. The prank turns horrifyingly real when a routine investigation escalates into a nightmare they can’t escape.”
How to watch it:
I want to say this is the only movie ever made with a brief sequence where Lance Henriksen bends over and provides a full view of his taint and balls while making funny voices to pretend his ass is speaking. So if that’s a thing you need in your life you should see Hollows Grove ASAP.
Something I really like about this movie is that while some of the characters are total assholes we can’t wait to see get killed by ghosts, the chemistry between everyone is really strong. Strong to the point where they could have had a movie about the group just filming their show without anything unusual even happening. Also whoever directed the demo intro for Resident Evil 7 definitely saw this movie in particular.
The extensive planning provided by Julie (Bresha Webb) and how the team hashes out which areas they’ll dramatically be “frightened” in at key moments is the most interesting part of the movie.
The writing for the show within the movie, S.P.I.T. (Spirit and Paranormal Investigation Team) is exactly as lame as the actual ghost hunter shows the movie is imitating. But you can also see the appeal of the show from the behind the scenes production of it and how their producer, Julie researches historical facts about an abandoned place which everyone then pretends to actually care about while being filmed.
When Ruggero Deodato directed Cannibal Holocaust, that film’s “documentary” team had multiple cameramen, a smart way to was stay committed to it being a found footage movie while still allowing for some more traditional direction at certain moments. The same trick is used here in an interesting way. The team has one cameraman, and an additional one who is documenting the production of the show. This movie’s middle third is very fun because of this as it gives us an intentionally blurred line between how much characters are genuinely freaked out or just acting for the show as they run into more issues with the shoot.
This guy stands here for what feels like forty-five minutes wondering why the cameraman is screaming at him to close the door, it’s awesome.
I never saw Paranormal Activity or any of the other recent many movies like this, so it was a fun watch. It definitely gets weaker as it goes on though, the build up is a lot more effective than the payoff.
The big failure with that payoff is that a lot of time is spent setting up the history of the place, but outside of a few character deaths we don’t see as much of it reflected in the location’s supernatural happenings. We’re also subjected to tacked on bookends of an FBI agent introducing the found footage. The quality of the bookends are about on par with the news broadcasts on an episode of Babylon 5 so that was pretty jarring, but fortunately there’s a fun post credit scene to make up for it.