Whenever you lose something precious, there is no greater feeling to be had when you find it. The relief, the joy, it’s pretty much hard to explain.
Now imagine if it wasn’t an object that you lost but a child. The feeling of guilt and sadness must be so powerful. If only you had been careful…
In many ways, The Hollow Child reminded me of the Changeling. The story about a child going missing and found again only for them to be an impostor, well that has been a plot of many heart-wrenching movies.
To add to the drama, we are introduced to a very troubled teen girl who is living with her foster family comprising of parents and a little sister. At first, it makes sense that she is older and therefore bugged by her little sister who always wants to hang around. Samantha calls her little sister Squirt and thinks it's uncool to be seen with her.
And of course, the family lives near the woods. Or going through the woods from school must be a shortcut I suppose. Either way, anyone in their right mind can see a small girl shouldn’t be walking through the woods in the first place, even someone as bratty as Samantha.
To give Sam more layers to her character, she is shown to be battling with self-harming issues. She has one best friend who has some emotional tendencies toward her and a guy who adores her from afar.
It is when Sam’s story is revealed on how she came to live with her foster family, it becomes hard to imagine why she wouldn’t want to be more around Olivia. Turns out, Sam had a little sister who died. And they were very close. So, okay, we are supposed to assume she has issues connecting with her family because of this. She must think that she would lose anyone she becomes close to.
Still, her insolent behavior or her lack of responsibility to her little sister cannot be justified. She can keep her distance but still not let her sister walk the woods alone.
Because of course, one fine day, Sam ditches Olivia to go hang out with her friend and Olivia, trying to act like a grownup, goes through the woods. When Sam returns, Olivia is nowhere around and it is her foster father who loses his temper at her.
Sometime later, Olivia walks back home in the middle of the night and reunited with her family. But uh-oh she’s not the sweet little girl who makes crayon drawings anymore. Nor does she want to hang around Sam. She tears the eyes of her stuffed toys and eats like a wild animal. Something is off about Olivia. Way off.
Sam tries to get to the bottom of it but like in every mystery/horror movie, no one believes her and blames her for losing Olivia in the first place causing the little girl to suffer a trauma. She persists and learns the story of a crazy town lady who burned down her house years ago because she claimed her little sister, who had become lost and returned, wasn’t who she was.
Sam realizes that she may have more in common with the crazy lady whom no one believes. She also learns about the creatures in the forest-- the hollow ones who take over the body of children. The stronger they become in that body, the original child starts to die. They do not want to be seen which is why they disguise themselves.
At this point, I had to wonder why the creatures took the trouble to wait for a child to walk into the forest. And for what purpose? So that they could go to school? Because it seems that until Sam hadn’t begun suspecting her of being different, they minded their own business.
It was when these creatures felt like they were in trouble that they begin attacking everyone on sight.
In a completely weird moment, when the monster reveals itself to Sam and attacks the whole family, the crazy town lady appears out of nowhere to stave off the creature’s attacks so that Sam can find her sister. Where did she come from?
Apparently, the creature had burned down her house to stop her from revealing all her secrets to Sam. Instead of collecting insurance or finding another house, she predicts the creature will begin attacking at night and goes off to save Sam.
Sam is more than happy to run off rather than fight. She finds the crazy lady’s little sister who asks her to close her eyes which in some way reveals the path to the creature’s hideout through a tree trunk.
Sam goes in, finds her sister but is attacked by the creature.
From that point on, we see the movie through Olivia’s eyes as she heard the cries of the creature and the flickering of flames.
We already know how the movie is going to end although the question is, the creature likes to disguise as little children. So why Sam who is a grownup, a teenager?
Yes, that is how the movie ends, with Sam’s eyes turning dark. Cliche!
The movie wasn’t dull and did have some interesting moments although Sam being kissed by her best friend and crush, was just awkwardly added in and did nothing to help her character.
There were moments in the movie that could have been frightening but just lacked a little in the execution, although the acting was decent.
It is an okay movie to watch even if there are some inconsistencies.
Scare scale: 3/5