In a departure from all the Disney channel original movies I’ve been watching, The Hollow is a straight to TV film for teens: that means it’s darker, sexier and a lot more open to my ridicule.
The plot follows the town that Sleepy Hollow‘s based on- gotta love that classic ghost story. But hang on, we’re told this story is different from the other ghost tales “because it’s true”. Oh boy! It gets better: the story is true because it’s in a book. Yep! That’s what’s in the script! I don’t have the heart to break it to writer Hans Rodionoff that this isn’t how books work. He’s still waiting for his letter from Hogwarts.
Young Ian has a knack for storytelling which has won over a young Kaley Cuoco (pre- Big Bang Theory but still probably not a feminist) but not his dad, the school’s basketball coach? He’s a coach of some sort. Have your Absent Parent Klaxon at the ready because CoachDad’s disapproval is like a supporting character. Ian also does fencing, and CoachDad hates his son practising a skill and staying healthy because it isn’t whatever sport he coaches for. It’s like CoachDad has never even seen the High School Musical films which teach us you can indeed like the things that you like (a revelation, I know).
CoachDad aside, Ian’s doing pretty well until he gets approached by some creepy old man who calls him “teacher” and tells him he’s 1) the descendent of the Headless Horseman and 2) the man who has the defeat the Headless Horseman- who we know is definitely real because books. Ian’s got to host the hay tour as well because as a policeman reminds us, “for repetition and clarity, tonight is Halloween.” Gee, thanks Officer Plot Summary! (He reports to General Synopsis.) Officer Plot Summary is my favourite character, because he only talks in exposition reminders and morally contentious remarks. He tells the old man off to “going through the mailbox like some kind of inbred”, which I bet he won’t be saying again for repetition and clarity.
Ah, this film is so enjoyably stupid. Ian’s other antagonist (apart from CoachDad and the very real Headless Horseman from books- Ian’s not even a dickhead, he definitely doesn’t deserve this many enemies) is Kaley’s jock boyfriend who hates Ian’s historical talks but also loves the town’s history and is aggressively passionate about heritage. He also starts nearly every conversation with the line “looks like you’ve seen a ghost!” regardless of context. I’m almost convinced the jock is ad-libbing all of his lines and they just kept the camera rolling instead of explaining that the phrase isn’t “end all, be all”. There’s yet another antagonist who’s this grumpy old woman called Mrs Van Doten. Mrs V-D rocks up for the hay tour, looks confused and annoyed and makes no impact on the plot. I don’t think she’s a character, I think she’s honestly just a confused and annoyed old woman.
Now it can’t be a teen horror without some side characters getting it on and then getting killed off, and The Hollow has some of the weirdest come-on lines I’ve ever heard. A random jock and cheerleader decide to have a romp in what is clearly a murder shack because the cheerleader’s weirdly into that stuff (all God’s children). “How about a little doggy style with the dead?” Pretty sure that’s definitely illegal. “A little zombie frombie?”
Zombie…what? I don’t- frombie? Frombie. Zombie Frombie. What is that meant t- Frombie, though. I’ve never heard of that- Frombie! She’s not being paid enough. What the name of all that’s sweet and holy is a zombie frombie? Urban Dictionary has revealed what it is and I’m still not convinced anybody’s ever called it that.
Spoopy Rating: 3/3 Spoopy as a Zombie frombie.