Sundance 2015 Interview: Corin Hardy on ‘The Hallow’ & ‘The Crow’

Park City at Midnight, the late night section of the Sundance Film Festival, premiered Corin Hardy’s debut feature, The Hallow. It came with the endorsement of Edgar Wright, who joined Hardy for the Q&A following the film. 

In his introduction, Hardy called The Hallow a fairy tale, but watching it, there is so much more. A family (Joseph Mawle and Bojana Novakovic) move to a forest in Ireland where he works for a logging company. The locals threaten him to leave the forest alone, and it turns out they’re right because he awakens creatures who come after his wife and baby. 

Hardy has next signed on to the re-imagining of The Crow for Relativity. We met up on Main Street to discuss his horror film and some of the special effects and techniques he used. Hopefully it won’t spoil anything so you’ll still be surprised to see what he pulled off on screen. 

 

CraveOnline: You described The Hallow as a fairy tale, and it is that, but is it also a creature movie, a body horror, a possession movie and a siege movie?

Corin Hardy: You’ve done your homework. Absolutely. I wanted it to be exactly that, a movie that kind of transforms firstly from a relationship drama, grounded in reality, steadily transforms along with the cinematography and characters and music into kind of a fairy tale, and loving the different subgenres of horror. We wanted to cover those bases along the way.

Does that help you decide on the pace when you have all those elements to balance?

The thing that decides the pace is the narrative. Everything’s driven by that storytelling, so I didn’t want to crowbar anything in for the sake of it. I think in trying to create something which was a familiar kind of genre story and setup in some ways, but then to twist it and push it and take it into different areas along the way, and hopefully at some point it starts to veer off into a territory where you’re not sure it’s going to go.

It is relentless though, so was there an eye towards keeping the pace up?

Yeah, for sure. I wanted to make something which had a sort of slow burn, gets you in, and there’s a moment in a horror movie, especially ones that are set in one night, when the shit hits the fan. You have to maintain that tension and progression and not peak too early. So there was a sense of a trajectory both in narrative and the story arcs, but also the set pieces. 

You say it’s a slow burn, but in the beginning I already thought the hostile townies were scary enough.

Good.

How lucrative could that job be that he would stay in such a hostile environment?

Right, right. We certainly suggest, you don’t want to get too heavy with the setup so it’s suggested hopefully with what he’s there for. He’s basically making good money out of these people’s terrible situation financially. 

And I think we know from movies that the scary townies are usually right.

Exactly. Exactly. We’re playing with those characters but we wanted to ground it. There’s a reason why they appear to be threatening as opposed to just being some old weirdo.

In the eye scene, was there anything practical up against your actress’s eye?

Everything was practical except for the extension from this point here [the finger]. So I was in front of her many parts of the scene being the creature, and I was flicking her with water, acting off screen. Then we had an animatronic hand and we had a guy in a creature suit as well. 

In fact, the funny thing there was when the guy was performing the arm, he was actually beneath the trap door which we had specially designed, but he couldn’t see her at all. We didn’t have enough time or money to have a monitor down for him. So he was kind of acting blind, so his hand did come very close to her a number of times, and also sometimes it would be in the wrong position. “One foot to the left, two inches to the right.” Bojana did a great job and she was capable of feeling the proximity of the needle in front of her eye, even if it wasn’t actually there.