While covering the 50th Annual WorldFest-Houston film festival, I had the privilege of attending the US premiere of the excellent horror film- The Hollow Child.

I have always had a fondness for horror movies that take place in or near the woods. That’s probably because as a child, I spent most of my days and several of my nights playing in the huge forest located behind my neighborhood. I would often make up stories and imagine the creatures that lived there. I don’t think I ever imagined anything quite as dark as the creature in The Hollow Child, though.

The story focuses on Sam (Jessica McLeod), a headstrong teenage girl, who’s been through some tragedy and is trying to find a place to call home. She’s a tormented youth, and spends a lot of her time escaping the world by listening to metal, smoking pot, and shoplifting. Despite that, she has a good heart and tries so hard to fit in with her new foster family, including her new sister Olivia (Hannah Cheramy). When Olivia and Sam are alone, we see a tender, loving side to them both, but when they are out in the world with Sam’s friends, Olivia is often treated as a burden.

Hollow Child

That is what leads to her walking home alone and going missing in the woods. However, something comes back in Olivia’s place, and manages to fool everyone but Sam. The creature is portrayed as highly intelligent and malicious, using emotions to manipulate those around Sam to try to force her out of the family. Sam hunts for information on the woods, and the thing that has taken her sister and it leads her to some pretty dark places. This is all while the creature is going to extreme lengths to ruin Sam’s life.

The performances in the movie were incredible. McLeod is likable and relatable, and Cheramy portrays both the sweet little girl, and the inhuman monster extremely well. I was very impressed with both young actresses. David Parfitt’s score is dark and intense, and does an excellent job at keeping the tension high once Sam’s suspicions are confirmed. I loved the cinematography as well. The Hollow Child was written by Ben Rollo and Directed by Jeremy Lutter, and they have created something that feels new and terrifying.

Overall, I thought The Hollow Child was an outstanding horror film. It was fresh, and dark, and one of the best iterations of little girl-turned monster that I have seen in years. It did lull slightly in the middle, and I personally think the ending would have been stronger if left somewhat ambiguous, but aside from those two things, it was fantastic. Go see it!

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