Film reviews

Hall – Blood in The Snow Film Festival 2020

Hall is another one to add to the list of unsatisfying movies, though at least it has way more tension and things going on than some (the recently reviewed Unearth, for example). It does also actively make an attempt to tie things up, even if that effort doesn’t entirely work.

Our main focus is on Val (Carolina Bartczak), her abusive husband Branden (Mark Gibson), and daughter Kelly (Bailey Thain), as well as on expectant mother Naomi who has apparently moved halfway across the world for work, but also to escape her own abusive partner.

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Does it really matter that he’s a bad person? Not really, as his input to the story is minimal and could have been left out with absolutely nothing being lost. There’s also a very, very brief appearance from actor Julian Richings, but again his scenes could have been cut from the story without anything actually being changed.

Anyway. Our characters all arrive at a hotel, some things happen and then suddenly almost everyone gets sick with something that makes their veins pop-out a la Scanners, and a large portion of the film’s running time is taken up with sweaty, pasty people lying on the floor gasping, wheezing and practicing their death rattles. In the midst of this, Val is attempting to smuggle her daughter out of the hotel so she can run away from her abusive husband before he wises up to what she’s doing.

And that’s really everything that happens here. Lots of people slowly and painfully die. Now that said, there is some good tension here and a couple of pretty decent jumpscares. Some of the scenes with Kelly when she’s on her own as things start to go downhill? They’ll get the hair prickling on the back of your neck.

The performances are all fairly decent, with props going out especially to Bailey Thain’s performance. She reminded me so much of my own daughter in places it was almost scary. I don’t know which of the writing trio has a kid, but the dialogue is just far too accurate.

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The problem is that the story just sort of… fizzles out. There’s no grand climax, no really satisfying resolution. Even the wrap-up is offered to the audience during the closing credits, presented by a slightly too enthusiastic news anchor. There’s hints of motive, hints of conspiracy, of bioterrorism and germ warfare, but it’s all left nebulous and unresolved.

Hall will be showing at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival, which runs from 28th October to 7th November. Catch up with our coverage here.

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