Review by James Lindorf
Releasing with a limited theatrical run on December 8th, Hollow in The Land is the first feature length film from writer and director Scooter Corkle. The film Stars Dianna Agron (Glee and I Am Number Four) as Alison (Al) Miller, a young woman who was abandoned by her mother years ago and whose father is in jail, leaving her as the guardian of her younger brother, Brandon. On the anniversary of their father’s crimes, a dead man has been found in a trailer park and Brandon is missing from the scene of the crime. Alison is pushed to her limits as she searches for Brandon, who may be a witness, victim or murderer.
The film also features Shawn Ashmore (Frozen, The Ruins and four X-Men films) as Darryl. He is the police officer who has been protecting Brandon after his frequent brushes with the law and Alison’s one true friend. Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight and Under the Dome) as Charlene, the mother of Brandon’s girlfriend Sophie and Alison’s secret lover. Michael Rogers (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Beyond the Black Rainbow and Duets) as the town police chief, who is as hardnosed as Darryl is friendly, and who thinks the Millers are just bad seeds, not worthy of being trusted. The cast is kept relatively small at just 16 named actors, which lends itself to the small town feel and helps keep the budget low.
The film touches on themes of trust and whether or not the apple falls far from the tree. How many mistakes are people allowed to make before trust in them should be abandoned, and should you lose faith in someone based solely on proximity? Do the children of screw ups have no option but to follow down the same path or can they blaze their own trail and learn from the mistakes of their parents? A community may have one opinion about a person, but without all of the facts, you may not know them as well as you think, and learning the truth can heal even the deepest wounds.
As with any thriller, the most important element is the cast. Here, we are treated to very good performances by all of the principle characters, but Agron is easily the stand out. If she didn’t turn in a quality performance, the film would be a failure, as 95% of the film (if not more) focuses on her and her frantic search. The biggest drawback to this film is the size of its cast. They either needed to spread out the story a little more between the characters that are present, or add one or two more. Questioning someone is fine. Returning to that person because they lied or left out information is also fine Returning to that person a third time, however, just makes things feel repetitive.
I don’t have many nits to pick about this film. It is beautifully shot in Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada. It is well acted. The story, while not amazingly complex, is intricate enough to keep viewers interested. I give the same rating as Shawn Ashmore (pictured above).