Review: Hollow in the Land

Dianna Agron in Hollow in the Land

Hollow in the Land is a tense thriller set in a small Canadian town filled with secrets. Dianna Agron leads the cast in a standout performance.

Ali (Dianna Agron) and her teenaged brother Brandon (Jared Abrahamson) live together. The main industry in their town is a pulp mill. Years before their mother left them. One year ago their drunk father drove his truck over the mill owner’s son and is now is prison.

Seventeen year old Brandon gets in a fight on the one year anniversary. Ali, who works at the mill, gets a call from her friend in the police, Darryl (Shawn Ashmore), to come pick up Brandon at the station.

After another argument with Ali at home, Brandon leaves with his friends. By the end of that night there’s been a murder and Brandon is the main suspect. The police chief (Michael Rogers) is adamant that Brandon is guilty. The problem is, no one can find Brandon.

The dead man is the ex-husband of Ali’s lover Charlene (Rachelle Lefevre). Charlene and her ex were in the middle of a custody battle over their teenage daughter, who just happens to be Brandon’s girlfriend.

Except for help from the deputy Darryl, Ali is on her own in figuring out where her brother is. It’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone else’s secrets and no one is talking. Ali finds out things before the police can figure them out. As she asks questions and chases down leads, she finds more dead bodies. Being near the scene of so many crimes means the police are after her, too.

She changes vehicles frequently. She ventures into the woods in search of her brother and gets shot in the shoulder herself. By the time the increasingly more and more dangerous search is over, several people have died and many of the town’s biggest secrets have come to light.

The setting is atmospheric: the cloudy Canadian winter, the woods, shadowy lighting on interiors scenes. The music is somber and almost as dreary as the smokestacks of the pulp mill.

I thought the story was well plotted, with reveals coming at strategic moments in the story. Every moment was fascinating and compelling. Everything lead up to a surprising ending. Dianna Agron gave a strong and nuanced performance.

This independent film was written and directed by Scooter Corkle. It’s his first feature film. He chose to set it in his hometown of Castlegar in the mountains of British Columbia.

Hollow in the Land is available from Amazon Video, YouTube, and Hulu.

Have you seen the film? I’d love you hear your thoughts in the comments.

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