Nathan Robbins (Adam Dillon) finds himself at a police station with no recollection of the events that led him there. A quiet, agoraphobic young man who never leaves his apartment, Nathan must piece together what happened through an interview with Detective Miller (Nicholas Vince), knowing that whatever it was, it ended in blood and violence.
Hollower is the latest film out of the Mycho Entertainment stable, where director MJ Dixon has made a name for himself with a succession of microbudget, lurid slasher titles. But this is a welcome change of pace, slowing up the gears while increasing the tension, resulting in Dixon’s most mature effort to date.
The story evolves through the Usual Suspectsstyle police interview framing device, slowly moving through day after day in the shutin’s life and the major event that occurs when Isabelle Carter (Becca Talulah) moves in down the hall. When Nathan helps in a mild way Isabelle to get clear of her abusive boyfriend, a friendship begins. A friendship which quickly blossoms into more. But it becomes increasingly clear that Nathan may not actually live alone. Rather, someone or possibly something shares his living space.
This is a very strong indie horror film. The lurid coloured lighting is dialled way back to be more atmospheric, the pacing is more measured and while the dialogue is often clunky, the performances particularly from lead Adam Dillon keep interest tight and focussed. Becca Talulah’s Isabelle gets the short end of the stick for characterisation as she comes across more like a bubbly dream girl who latches on to a complete loser for little reason, but perhaps that is the point. Since we are seeing Nathan’s retelling of events, it may be we are also seeing his idealised version of his neighbour.
The score is excellent, creating a very strong mood of unease. The film manages to be eerier throughout, despite minimal violence. The restraint is superb, as is a nice line in subtlety. For example, Nathan’s backstory is not hammered home, instead utlising a tipped over photo to fill in the blanks.
The biggest complaint is that the story unfolds in the most predictable manner possible, although the fact it remains creepy despite this speak even more to the expertise in the filmmaking.
A big step up for Dixon and a fantastic example of how a tiny budget need not constrain a quality horror film, Hollower is a terrific piece of work.