Hall (2020) – Film Review
Director: Francesco Giannini
Cast: Carolina Bartczak, Julian Richings, Bailey Thain
By @Roger Crow
When a debilitating virus spreads across a hotel hallway, scattered victims must fight for survival. That’s the simple premise for a Canadian movie which, if released three years ago, would have been a compelling fantasy thriller. Alas these days looks like it could be taken from the headlines.
That’s part of the problem with Hall. It’s a good idea, and I hoped the whole movie would be set in a hotel hallway, a little like that Shakespeare-inflected episode of Inside No 9, ‘Zanzibar’, but sadly there’s very little to it.
“Cranking up the tension”
There’s a lot of gasping, panting, ominous music, emoting, generic dialogue and woozy camera angles. Oh, and there’s also the obligatory shot of a heroine wandering through a dimly lit corridor with faulty neon lights. Okay, perfectly feasible as the fluorescent tube in my kitchen has been flickering for years, but in a horror thriller, it’s far more annoying, just because of the amount of times it’s been used.
There are so many tropes in the horror genre that a good film maker should know what to use and what not. Those that use flickering neon tubes instantly lose points. And don’t get me started on generic peripheral character sharing small talk about the fact a rich old guy can’t tie his tie. Klang. Another point deducted.
Whether by accident or design, the cute blonde moppet reminded me of the kid from the original Poltergeist movies. And like her screen mum, she does a good job of cranking up the tension while people gasp and wheeze on the floor for what seems like an age.
“Doesn’t outstay its welcome”
It’s stylishly shot, and some of the music cues are okay, but the whole thing lacks freshness.
In the hands of David Cronenberg, who was doing this sort of thing so much better 45 years ago, Hall could have been a huge success.
Alas, it’s just okay, and at least the lean 78-minute run time means it doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Sadly this was one movie hotel I couldn’t wait to check out of.