It’s been a week since I’ve seen Hallows Point and I’m still a bit confused. Usually, when I see something I really didn’t like, I try to find a tiny hint of imagination or promise. Sometimes, it works out and I see a story that starts out great but ends up a disaster. Or I realize how great a director’s vision could have been if the proper tools had been utilized or if there hadn’t been studio interference. Or I see a script stunt what could have been a great performance. Something. Anything. Other times, I come up empty handed.
I can’t help but think Hallows Point is one of those films that fails on every level and, just to spite me, ties my shoe laces together while I’m not looking so I trip on my way out of the theatre.
Nathanial Raber, a biology teacher at the local high school, was shot dead after attacking a student and was discovered as being the serial killer who had recently plagued the town. Months later, several students sneak into the now abandoned high school and perform a séance, hoping to conjure up a spirit to communicate with, using their trusty Ouija board. Of course, they didn’t find the séance in any old book, they found one that was previously owned by… wait for it… Nathanial Raber. What followed was a ridiculous lesson in slasher antics 101, where the film becomes as predictable as Lindsey Lohan’s cocaine usage.
The script is all over the place. It’s almost like the writer couldn’t remember what high school was like, so he asked a socially challenged 15 year old what the cool kids acted like. Not only that, but you can even tell which characters are going to make it to the end before they open their mouths. And, because the script was put together haphazardly, we only spend 5 minutes with some of the characters before they’re killed. And the ones who do last longer don’t get a substantial amount of screen time either. Jeffrey Lynn Ward, director and screenwriter, was too busy trying to show what everyone was doing at once, rather than having us invest interest in any of the teenagers.
And what about these random coincidences and ridiculous plot points that seem to drown out any sort palpable story? One of the teenagers carries around a letter her mother wrote her before she died. And, luckily, she still has it later on so it can be lit on fire and used as a torch. I had one of those moments where I sat back and said, “Really? Is that all that was there for?” The sentimental nature of the scene sure didn’t work so thats got to be it. But, thats not even the worst scene to make its way to the screen. One features a dead body, wearing a mask made to look exactly the teacher. After being examined to reveal a dead teen underneath, the body rises up to takes off a second mask to reveal the teacher underneath. Absolute genius! The teacher wears a mask of his own face to throw off any suspicion. Someone give this guy a medal, he’s the best disguise guru since Fletch. And how about this abandoned school? The teens are still in high school but apparently, the county has a huge budget and can just build a new high school every time a teacher takes up being a serial killer.
I had heard the expression “lazy cinematography” before seeing this movie but never really had a true understanding of what it meant. It always seemed to me like something a pretentious film student would mull over after watching the latest high profile release. While watching this film, it just seemed to click in my head and I finally understood what it meant. The DP seemed to move the camera only when absolutely necessary, never creating any sort of tension or atmosphere with his lighting or shots. Shaking the camera while watching some kids run down a darkened hallway doesn’t do it for me, especially when the shot is shown from afar. As far as the lighting goes, there was none. I couldn’t even tell what was going on in some scenes. Hell, I could have stepped in there with a desktop lamp and it would have been an improvement.
The musical aspect of the film was, you guessed it, just as abysmal as everything else. Carpenter-esque riffs, complete with an out-of-place metal soundtrack only present in chase scenes. Ah, the predictable nature of it all.
The gore effects are not even of Asylum quality. I guess I would say they were most akin to something made by Brain Damage Films. Most kills are off-screen, with a splash of blood being thrown on a wall. Green screen wounds and blood are abound in the film, not to mention a few rubbery body parts that I could have sworn bounced off of the floor.
Not even the cameo from David Naughton, who actually oozed creepiness for the 15 seconds he was on camera, can save Hallows Point.