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HALLOWED GROUND (2019)

Directed by Miles Doleac
Written by Miles Doleac
Starring Miles Doleac, Sherri Eakin, Ritchie Montgomery, Lindsay Anne Williams, Jeremy Sande, Creek Wilson, Cotton Yancey, Mindy Van Kuren, Wesley O’Mary, Michael Randall, Dan Forest, Ella Claire Bennett, Scott Bolster, Dan Ellzey, Joseph VanZandt, Anjuli May

HALLOWED GROUND has a decent premise and passable acting (something that doesn’t often happen in low budget movies). The problem is that, for the first hour, it forgets that it’s supposed to be a horror movie.

A troubled married couple Vera (Sherri Eakin) and Alice (Lindsay Anne Williams) go on a weekend vacation to a secluded lodge in the woods to rekindle their romance. Unbeknownst to them, a group of backwoods cultists are looking for a sacrifice to their elder gods.

HALLOWED GROUND was written, directed, and even stars Miles Doleac as one of the leads, which may explain why this almost two hour film feels unfocused and in need of a massive edit. Almost an entire forty five minutes or so of the film focuses on soap opera level relationship angst between the two lesbian leads. Going into this one knowing that it is a horror movie, I found myself tempted to look at my phone, clip my toenails, do anything that could pass the time while the two leads talk about their love, their betrayal, their faith in one another, and their lack of trust. It’s just an uncomfortable amount of time dedicated to Lifetime level drama that really does nothing but eat away at one’s interest in the movie itself.

It’s a shame, because when the horror eventually shambles into the frame in the form of some good old boys who just love to wear animal pelts and worship ancient evil in the woods. There is a definite level of both menace and goofiness to these baddies. The horned helmet of Doleac as the leader of the cultists looks kind of hokey, but the dialog and their devious actions are pretty deadly. The problem is that I imagine those who check out this film will have tuned out by the time any of this occurs.

There is also a weird tone to HALLOWED GROUND. It feels rather progressive as it focuses on the relationship between two women in love with one another, pitting them against ancient traditions and even a sort of menacing patriarchy in the form of the cultists. But just when one might think this is a feminist style film, Doleac injects multiple sex scenes involving its leads, giving this a sort of Skinemax feel that goes against any forward thinking direction this one might have taken. The result is that HALLOWED GROUND is a confusing and meandering film that takes way too long to get moving.