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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Review: Hallowed Ground

Director: Miles Doleac
Screenplay: Miles Doleac
Year: 2019

Synopsis: A married couple, trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair, travels to a secluded cabin. There they stumble into a blood feud between the Native American owners of the property and the neighboring clan, who obsessively guard their land and punish those who trespass on it in terrifying ways.

The most interesting thing the “Hallowed Ground” manages to do is to mix two topics that have been seldom or wrongfully worked at in horror cinema. These topics are homosexuality and Native American culture. In particular, the topic of homosexuality or any other topic concerning the LGBTT community, when is brought on in horror movies, it is used in a comedic way or through a character with psychological disorders that leads it to commit horrific acts and its actions are explained through some sexual disorder. Native Americans, besides the famous burial grounds, have not been explored much, and no horror movie easily come to mind that features them.

“Hallowed Ground” has the opportunity of putting itself as one of the pioneers in representing both topics in a good way, but it misses the opportunity. Although it does not fall in the common horror movie stereotypes with these topics, it does fail in making a better representation. For example, the protagonist female couple reaches the cabin in the woods looking for a peaceful place to work on the problems of their marriage. Until here, everything is great until it is brought up that the marital problems have been accentuated by one of them having an affair with a man. My question is, why can’t the marital problem be worked on as with any other heterosexual couple without the sexual orientation being determinant in them? My guess is that this is the easiest way to bring another character to the plot, but this could have been done in a better way.

The initial scene presents a mysterious character based on Native American culture. This character is the bone scraper, which job instantly gives in an ominous air. By how this scene is presented I thought that this character would be used more, and although it is important in the development of the story and in some key parts, he appears to little for the potential it offers to a movie of this kind.

Many of the problems of this movie, as those that have already been discussed, come from the screenplay. It seemed to me like one of those cases where the idea is good, but the execution is not. As well as with the bone scraper characters, there are many proposed ideas that later are not well developed and leave the sensation that they could have improved the movie. They also try to present a cult as frightening, but their red robes and antler horns do the whole opposite. The story is interesting enough to keep the viewer's attention, but it suffers from a very slow narration, which will put the patience of some to the test. The work of the cast does not help ease the issues of the plot, but they are not horrible and can be watched.

“Hallowed Ground” is a movie with many not well-developed ideas and let go by the unique chance to become a cult favorite for the unconventional topics they bring. These underdeveloped ideas fill the plot with holes and the viewer with frustration. It could have benefitted from a faster and more focused development, as well as more risks in the explicit scenes, and I think it could have ended up as a more interesting product.

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