Hollow, The (2004)

The Hollow (2004)

Some Legends Never Die.

Ian Cranston is unaware that he is the last blood relative of Ichabod Crane, the legendary figure who stopped the Headless Horseman’s reign of terror in Sleepy Hollow. His arrival in the famous town stirs up the spirit of the Horseman who wants to settle an old score.


Taking one of the most famous ghost stories of all time and turning it into some made-for-TV teen terror flick isn’t what the doctor ordered and The Hollow doesn’t do any justice to Washington Irving’s classic story whatsoever. Those of you who imagine the story of Ichabod Crane and The Headless Horseman to resemble something vaguely like Tim Burton’s gothic Sleepy Hollow (even if it does take many liberties with the material) should well avoid this attempt to transport the story into a contemporary setting.

The Hollow is tame. I didn’t expect too much with it being made-for-TV and I didn’t get anything in return. Light on horror, light on gore, light on sexuality and light on anything that could be construed as remotely offensive, the film looks and runs like a pre-school Halloween special at times. I guess I should be writing the review from the point of view of its intended audience and in that respect, the film does alright. A ‘My First Horror Film’ approach is evident here with some mild scares, gentle titillation and a few young recognisable faces that the younger audience would be able to associate with – Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys fame for instance. For the older viewer, this is all just too glossy and light-hearted, throwing in a couple of faces that we’d immediately recognise. Stacy Keach does the ‘Crazy Ralph’ character who warns everyone about the impending danger and Judge Reinhold, no doubt grateful that he’s not starring in another Beethoven sequel, is here as well.

Even if the film was geared towards a younger market, at least it could have been somewhat exciting with plenty of action. The Headless Horseman doesn’t really make an appearance until a good half-way through the story so what we’re left with in the meantime is plenty of overly melodramatic TV drama fodder. There’s the ‘nerdy guy taking the hot cheerleader and making the jock jealous’ nugget as well as the ‘tumultuous father and son relationship where father knows best’ side story as well. The plot about the lad being a descendant of Ichabod Crane was perfectly acceptable to bring the story into the present and could have carried the film on its own. But instead it gets padded out with generic dramatic foil.

When the Horseman finally shows up late in the day to start killing (a body count of five is pretty slim pickings), the film does pick up a bit of steam but it’s not really a lot to save it. Most of the film takes place at night too and the transfer to DVD wasn’t particularly convincing so it’s quite hard to see who is chasing who at times during the latter stages. There’s little gore to be had here though depending on which version you catch will depend on the amount of gore (the DVD is apparently ‘unrated’ though there’s not much extra on show). I’ve also got to question the notion of a Headless Horseman when this ghostly figure spends the film wearing a huge pumpkin for a head. It kind of defeats the notion of him being headless. Bring back Christopher Walken as the Horseman and all may be forgiven.


The Hollow is a formulaic ‘safe’ teen movie with a dash of adult horror added as an afterthought at the end. It’s a total waste of time for anyone except teenagers and even then they should be sneaking into the cinema to get a glimpse of R-rated films or borrowing dodgy copies off their mates.





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