Every now and then there will be a film coming out that we at Modern Horrors get really excited about. Sometimes films have a good buzz built about them before release. Sometimes these films actually get distribution and we get to watch them, and even on occasion, they live up to the hype. Most horror movies fall into one or two of these categories, but sometimes, the great white buffalo will appear, and a film will achieve all of the aforementioned. Hollows Grove has a head start on possibly being a sleeper hit this Halloween season.

The essential premise is something we’ve seen before; a paranormal investigation team goes to the most haunted destination of their career to poke around.  The different aspect of this team is that they openly admit that their show is a complete hoax, and expect nothing to happen at this weeks “haunted” locale. Now, being a huge fan of TV’s “Ghost Adventures,” in particular the most lovable, goofiest man alive, Zak Bagans, seeing them set up fake scares on their show was similar to a 14-year-old me seeing The Undertaker helping an old lady across the street or taking his kid to soccer. The script somewhat forces the impression on you that the guys on the team are all immature fuck-abouts, but if you can get past the host’s invasive Midwestern accent, they are perfectly likeable and believable.

The story opens with the typical points of interest. If you’ve ever watched a paranormal show you seen the ever-familiar children’s orphanage/mental hospital/everyone had Tuberculosis/everyone jumps off the roof to their death. This is the story at Hollows Grove. It really picks up when things begin to happen and the team doesn’t know if it’s their setup man causing these scares or if it’s actually real. It becomes abundantly clear, however, that this is no hoax of course.

The genius of 2009’s Paranormal Activity, was the steady build up, and the subtlety of what the sprits were doing. There is no subtlety in this. Motherfuckers are running wild at Hollows Grove almost as soon as the cameras begin to roll. That being said, it’s still effective. Nowhere near as much as Paranormal Activity, but effective none the less. It will hit you with jump scares but it also has “Easter egg” ghosts in the background of some scenes that the hosts don’t actually notice or acknowledge at all. which you don’t typically see. I can’t decide if the acting once the shit gets real is annoying and over the top, or incredibly realistic. I’ve never been trapped inside the scariest place on earth. For now, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.