Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (3)
| Fresh (3)
| Rotten (0)
A confident, multi-layered film which makes highly effective use of simple cinematic techniques to forge a connection with the primal, The Hollow Child is a further sign that the growing Raven Banner brand is one worth looking out for.
Whilst it may not be destined to set the box-office alight - and will probably find its place on streaming and cable channels, The Hollow Child is a passably diverting supernatural thriller and a film with talent to watch out for in the future.
McLeod's performance is as much a highlight as the spooky spirit Lutter conjures, enhanced by Nelson and Graham Talbot's striking cinematography and David Parfit's sinister score.
Canadian folklore is interesting in that I know very little of it. I don't know how that differs from US folklore because, while I'm far more familiar with US culture than I am that of Canada, I still wouldn't say I know enough based on the fact that all fifty states have their own stories and legends. Of course, I've also said that US folklore and the culture surrounding it have always been a little tasteless. And I mean that in the literal sense, there's no flavor, no spice to any of them. This is especially more noticeable when you see foreign movies that, quite frankly, fully embrace the more superstitious elements of their folklore because of its heightened importance in those countries. Japan, China, Norway, Ireland, among many others have really interesting and rich folklore that you can craft a thousand movies from. But, again, that's not so much the case on this side of the world. Or at least it's not as prevalent. Stories about the Mothman or the Jersey Devil don't really interest me. And, once again, I know even less about the Canadian side of it. So it is interesting to see this from a distinctly different perspective. With that said, and I've also made this clear in a few of my reviews, but my least favorite genre is the evil child genre. Unless it's the case where, quite explicitly, it's a demonic possession, like The Exorcist and you, almost immediately, see the effects the demon's possession has Regan's physical state. I feel like that's the case where it works best, because you're seeing the fact that it's not actually a little girl trying to act scary. It just doesn't work because, honestly, children are not scary. So having them try to act scary, without the aid of practical make-up effects, is just incredibly laughable to me. I do not and would not ever advocate child abuse but, since this is a movie, it's not really child abuse, but if I were the characters in the movie, I would kick the child in the face and then the movie would end, because the child would stop acting like an asshole. And, problematically, this film features the child character, which I know is a demon pretending to be Olivia (after she got lost in the woods), pretending to be evil without the aid of make-up. Though, if I am being fair, the movie is not so much about Olivia being evil throughout the movie, it's more about Samantha, a troubled teen, whose foster father (Olivia's biological father), does not trust, trying to expose the impostor for what it is. I do think that was a smart decision, because if it was more centered about Olivia (or the demon passing itself off as her) and her escalating attacks, then it just wouldn't have worked. The fact that they frame it as this is Sam's chance to redeem herself for losing Olivia the first time, makes it a more emotionally stronger story than it would have been without it. I feel that Sam herself is a strong character because, again, I like the fact that she is just trying to find a place where she can call home, seeing as she's probably used to jumping around from foster home to foster home. With the family she's with now, she has a chance of finding a place where she can call home with people she can call her family. Which is a strange thing, considering that Garrett (the father) is such a major asshole. Regardless, but I feel that it works as a story arc, because you root for Sam and Jessica McCleod, who plays Sam, is very good in the role. BUT, and you knew there was gonna be a but here given the score I gave this, I never felt that the movie added up to truly be an experience I could recommend, much less call good. Everything outside of Sam and her arc didn't really do much for me. I just find the movie to be really slow-paced. And not in the way where it's a slow-burner, where it builds tension, atmosphere and pays off with an intense climax. No, it's slow-paced in the way where, honestly, I wasn't really paying attention to some scenes because they weren't particularly interesting to watch. There's something about eyes being important to the demon or something. It doesn't make sense, because they say something about the fact that closing your eyes actually allows you to see where the demon itself is hiding, or something, and then the demon pretending to be Olivia has a thing for ripping eyes out of people's sockets or out of stuffed toys. And it's like, wouldn't not having eyes allow them to find you much easier??? Though, if I'm gonna be fair, I'm not gonna use that to dock points from the movie since, as I just mentioned, there are some scenes that I didn't pay attention to because they bored me. So I'm well aware of the fact that the thing about the eyes is probably more on me for not paying attention than on the movie for not making things clear. There's some strangely bad dialogue here, like when Olivia, at least to Sam, goes on a little diatribe about how humans ruined the earth they (the demons) took care of and how our scrambling little lives are pathetic. It's bad dialogue, because it just sounds laughable coming from the mouth of an actress who's that young. Like you're asking me to believe three-year-olds doing a serious performance of Hamlet or King Lear. it doesn't work, because Hamlet would just sound adorable from the mouths of three-year-olds and it would dull the dramatic impact that play may have. Same thing applies here. Though I do think the dialogue would have still been bad had it been anyone else. I don't know, I just feel the movie falls short. This is a shame because, again, I legitimately like what they did with Sam as a character. I think she's a strong character, it's just that everything around her doesn't really work that well. It is what it is. I've gotta give the movie props, because they did at least make an effort, but sometimes those efforts don't always pay off. However, I'm also not as down on this movie as I tend to be on others that might receive this score. I can see the fact that there was a lot of effort and love put into this movie and I will always champion that. So this is more of a movie where, if you understand what you're getting into, I'd recommend it, since you might get more out of it than I did. But if you're wanting something that will provide solid horror thrills, then this won't be what you're looking for. Decent movie here, just wish it could have been more as the pieces were definitely there.
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