OK, brace yourself when I tell you that Hallowed Ground was a straight to video release. I know, you’re stunned, right? You can’t even get up. I was as shocked as you. But I’ve got to hand it to the filmmakers, they’ve got a decent idea by putting a somewhat scary image on their cover and keeping a brother intrigued, so to speak.
Written and directed by David Benullo, he of Shadow Man fame, this film focuses on the town of Hope, where Liz (Jaimie Alexander, Kyle XY) finds herself standed. The people are nice to her, but for some reason, they just come off as being “too nice”. She manages to find out the town is pretty much composed of religious fanatics, who find out that Liz is part of a prophecy as outlined by the town’s preacher. The funny part is that the preacher died a century ago and was crucified and hung like a scarecrow, resulting in the semi-cool picture. So the town tries to hold her hostage while the scarecrow gets his pseudo freaky deaky on.
I’ve got to admit, if some of this sounds sketchy, it’s because it is, besides, I was making a killer raw tuna salad at the time. It’s weird, because Benullo takes a plot that in lots of other films would be a subplot, and turns it into an approximately eighty minute piece. He does stretch things even further (a chase scene late in the end runs for almost two minutes and is pretty comical), and if he could tie this in to a larger idea for a TV show, would actually be a pretty good episode. But as a feature film it’s flimsy and it shows. The introduction of a young girl (Chloe Moretz, Big Momma’s House 2) in the second act doesn’t help either, as it’s supposed to give you what, something to care about? But the girl and the movie turn into Aliens from a story point of view, except in this care the people in the city are alive and care about the alien. Now I would want to see a story about that.
It’s a small surprise that this disc has a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track, and it’s presentable sonically. There’s not a lot of surround/panning effects going on that I could recall, but the sound is pretty focused for the most part and sounds quite clear.
1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, but the picture doesn’t really bring a lot to the table. The image is occasionally sharp, and blacks aren’t nearly as solid, but I’m guessing this thing probably was going to be low on the expectation chart as it was.
None, unless you count a collection of trailers an extra.
Aside from saran wrap, nothing is less transparent than Hallowed Ground. You can see the ending coming a mile away, and all the distractions and cinematic roadblocks in the world isn’t going to stop it. It very nearly embraces its kitschiness, which at least would have made this kind of watchable, but there are scarier horror films out there to rent, and there are very few crappier ones than this.