Tuesday, May 14, 2013

#1,002. The Hollow (2004)

Directed By: Kyle Newman

Starring: Kevin Zegers, Kaley Cuoco, Nick Carter

Tag line: "Some Legends Never Die"

Trivia: Director Kyle Newman joined the production four days into shooting

Teenager Ian Cranston (Kevin Zegers) is the new kid in Sleepy Hollow, the small town made famous by Washington Irving’s 19th century story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, in which a schoolteacher named Ichabod Crane has a run-in with the Headless Horseman, the ghost of a former Hessian soldier who spends his nights cutting off other people’s heads. It’s one of the best-loved tales in American Literature, but according to Claus Van Ripper (Stacy Keach), the caretaker for the local cemetery, Ichabod Crane was more than just a character in a story. In fact, he believes that Ian himself is a direct descendant of the real Ichabod Crane, and his arrival in Sleepy Hollow has reawakened the Headless Horseman, who’s come back to take his revenge. With the help of his cheerleader girlfriend, Karen (Kaley Cuoco), and the local school bully, Brody (former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter), Ian faces off against the Horseman on Halloween night, realizing full well that one wrong move will more than likely cost him his head.

While I can’t say I’m all that familiar with Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, I am a big fan of Tim Burton’s 1999 film, Sleepy Hollow, which starred Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane. So I went into 2004’s The Hollow hoping it would be something more than your average, run-of-the-mill horror flick. But it isn’t. In fact, The Hollow is about as “average” and “run-of-the-mill” as you can get. Stacy Keach wanders through much of the movie looking like a hobo, yet talking like a pirate (the only thing he was missing was the parrot on his shoulder). Despite being the town drunk, his Claus Van Ripper shows up everywhere, appearing in almost every scene, usually telling Ian he “must talk” with him, then saying absolutely nothing of value once they’re alone. Judge Reinhold (Fast Times at Ridgmont High, Head Office) also appears as Ian’s dad, and watch for Eileen Brennan (The Last Picture Show, Private Benjamin) in perhaps the most pointless cameo of her career, playing the bat-shit crazy old woman, Joan Van Etten. What’s more, The Hollow is a horror film that doesn’t feature a single effective scare, not one moment to get your pulse racing. The first victims of the Headless Horseman, Scott (Joseph Mazzello) and Amber (Melissa Schuman), are murdered off-screen, and it isn’t until almost an hour into the movie that we're shown a decent kill.

With one-dimensional characters, a flimsy story, and zero thrills, The Hollow is a total failure.

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