Movie Reviews

Published on October 31st, 2014 | by Ed Sum

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How to Investigate Hollow’s Grove, an Analysis and Movie Review

Truth be told, some valid points are made in the film Hollows Grove about every paranormal reality television show that’s out there. Ever since its sudden rise in popularity back in the late 90’s, some amount of trickery is involved. Yes, part of what gets experienced is faked if not over-dramatized for effect. If it’s any less, not many people will want to tune in to the program, film or drama that’s presented on-screen.

Being a paranormal investigator myself, the crux to an investigation usually means sitting in the dark and listening to a lot of silence. Some attempt at spirit contact is made. Not a lot of noise is made by using digital or tape recorders, and sometimes they get revealed on site. In what gets heard, half of it can be attributed to outside noise and the natural settling of a building. Chains and other disembodied voices are very rarely heard.

Hollows Grove begins as a filmmaker’s attempt at documenting the making of one of these television shows in a fictional universe. S.P.I.T. is a very generic sounding name of the Spirit and Paranormal Investigation Team who goes out to search for the unknown. They are not trained parapsychologists but are in fact college graduates from a media program who do not want to get normal jobs. They realize anyone can be a paranormal investigator, and they managed to craft a successful television show that has been running for five years. Having training in a related discipline helps, like psychology, forensic science, journalism or archaeology. When going into a case, being able to do the needed research is important, and that’s why the S.P.I.T. team has Julie (Bresha Webb), their behind-the-scenes person who does the library work.

Although they seemly try to be serious in front of the camera, everything they do is nothing but fun and games behind it. As a satire, this film has it all, and it’s actually enjoyable to watch in that regard. Even better is the fact that the production went into a supposedly real haunted location — Linda Vista Hospital near Downtown Los Angeles. — to make this movie. Oh the stories they can tell! Supposedly, the crew did have two incidents which gave them goosebumps.

To follow what Harold Maxwell (Matthew Carey) records about this team does is hilarious in showing how Tim Royce (Matt Doherty) is not really into the pursuit for explanations behind the haunting of an old orphanage turned sanatorium. He’s in it for being a paranormal pop star (which is the worst thing anyone can do since it’s not giving this pseudo-profession any credence of respectability).

This team’s camera man, Chad (Val Morrison) has different ideas. The team comes to blows when they can not distinguish what is real or not, especially when BIll (Lance Henriksen) is the special effects wizard behind most of what they ‘encounter.’ Henriksen provides the best moments in this film with his performance. He’s cantankerous. The rest of the team comes through as believable, but as for as reactions go in front of the perceived spooks, the draw is in seeing how emotionally and psychologically ill prepared this group are when faced with the real.

When compared to television shows like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters, respectively this team is no pack of alpha males looking to prove themselves in a fight or flight situation or people with a true interest in deciphering what the paranormal world is all about. At least programs like Haunted Collector are decent enough to show that John Zaffis is indeed very serious and invested to protecting the clients he sees.

Even back in the days of Most Haunted, the jabs this movie makes about what many a presenter is like most be noted. Quite often, viewers will find the host — Yvette Fielding in this British show’s case — saying, “Did you hear that?” when nothing can be heard at all. Surprisingly, every strange noise is heard and that gives viewers a sense of what the Scooby Doo gang in Hollow’s Grove are experiencing. Royce has that Fred Jones attitude to keep on going and everyone else is slowly wanting to leave when they realize what’s happening is real.

Despite the early setup to be all jocular with the story, this movie’s tone shifts near the end. It tries to be serious and it achieves some modicum of success. Although this movie is no variation on the theme of this sub-genre of films, it’s a satisfactory watch. Sadly, it’s tough to deviate from the standard plot of going into a haunted building just to see the team get the shit frightened out of them. This movie does a better job than other films liked Haunted Changi but does not get anywhere near the shocker in the movie Death of a Ghost Hunter. Maybe one day, some filmmaker will come up with twist to change this genre around.

 


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