Hallowed Be Thy Name (2020)

Shannywise strikes again.  I guess her days of inflicting fear have gone by the wayside because now she’s only suggesting movies to inflict pain.  In her defense, I think she’s just seen every good horror movie ever made so now she’s just watching all the rest.  Also in her defense, I do specifically request movies like this.  And she’s a clown that feasts on the fear and pain of others, and a girl’s gotta eat, right?  Anyway, this time she requested a movie called Hallowed be Thy Name, written and directed by Taylor Ri’chard (I don’t like typing the name like that either. And you can take my word for that, or my name’s not R’ob?ert B*!ck#et), and starring Collin Shephard, Alissa Shaye Hale, Bryen Lenis, Fiona McQuinn, Mamie Morgan, Zander Krenger, and Bill Barrett.

A kid (who is probably 30) named Devin (Shephard) moves with his mom (McQuinn) to live with his grandma.  He meets gay dude Mick (Lenis) and bitchy chick Skylar (Hale), who day one lies to the other two that she wants to go to this magic wishing cave because her mom has cancer.  Fooled you!  She wants her boyfriend to love her again after she got an abortion without telling him.  And then she says, “Also, nice to meet you, Devin.”  In the wishing cave, they make a wish and also decide to steal a sword and teddy bear because why not?  Well it gets them haunted by a demon named Koosh Ball and blah blah blah this is the movie I just sat through.

Shannywise, you’ve outdone yourself this time.  I was considering doing a video review of this, but there is no way I’d be able to find footage or pictures from this movie to use and also, I have just too many things to say about it.  Not terribly much to say about the story though.  We’ve all seen a movie like this before, I’m sure.  And most parts of it too.  Recently divorced parent takes their kid to be a fish out of water in a new school.  Messing around with magic stuff gets you haunted.  I think what sets this one apart is you’ve never seen it happen to people quite as dumb as this.  You’ll think you have because there’s a lot of dumb going on in horror movies, but these people lower the bar a bit.  You steal a sword and a teddy bear from this magic place and now the ghost is after you.  He even flat out tells you to give it back right before he kills your sister to show he means business.  Not once after this did any of these people attempt to return the stolen items to the magic cave!  Would it be enough to stop further killings?  Probably not.  But you could at least try to do what he says and see!  Koosh Ball (or whatever the demon’s name was) was a little unclear with his rules anyway, which you could tell because he started by killing the sister.  What’s that about?  She wasn’t in the cave, she didn’t take anything, she doesn’t even know her brother did.  The two kids killed in the beginning didn’t take anything.  One of them just read a note in the cave and put it back.  If you’re a demon and you can actually just kill willy-nilly, why haven’t you been?

So let’s talk about this as a horror movie.  Not scary at all, mostly laughable, and predictable.  They had some interesting camera work, for what that’s worth.  Which is not very much, but it was there.  Although I do assume this camera work was mostly just because someone bought a drone and thought that was excuse enough to make a movie.  The scares they attempted were mostly pretty standard things.  Lots of darkness and people being suddenly tugged into it.  They did the one where something is in the middle of the street when they’re driving causing them to suddenly swerve to avoid it, but that one was pretty poorly executed.  Like first, it was a dog.  Why after are they saying, “What WAS that?!”  …It was a dog.  You’ve seen a dog before, right?  If it suddenly disappeared, don’t be alarmed.  Dogs that almost get hit by cars do that a lot.  Also, when you show the car spin and stop perpendicular to the road, don’t have it be very obvious that the car is parallel to the road when we cut back to the inside.  You don’t see the road through either window, just the woods on the side.  That dog was also around a lot and we never really figured out why.  Was the dog evil?  A herald of Kooshball?  It was a very sweet, cute looking dog, but really didn’t seem to have much purpose in the movie.  Kooshball himself looked pretty decent…at first.  When he was just in the shadows and all you could see was the top of his head looking all sinister and stuff, he worked fairly well.  When you got up close and had him talk and showed that he was just wearing face paint that was black on his lower jaw?  Not so much.  That makes sense to do in a movie making sense that it looks more sinister in the hood when you can’t see his lower jaw, but why would the demon paint his face like that?  Or why would his skin just look like that?

The acting is what really brings this movie down.  There was one person that was mostly a passable actor in this movie and that was the gay best friend Bryen Lenis.  He was put in stupid situations and was given stupid things to say, but that wasn’t his fault.  He did the best he could with the situation.  The character was gay and seemed to live in a small, possibly Southern town, so I assume that’s a tough life.  He had apparently had a bad situation before when he crushed on a dude and it didn’t work out well.  I can only assume it’s because he has the very problematic understanding that if a guy isn’t on your team, “they just need a little coaching.”  That sounds an awful lot like reverse homophobia.  Isn’t the idea we want to get across about gay people is that they’re just born that way?  He’s essentially suggesting the reverse of “pray the gay away,” which I assume is to “gay the pray away.”  When he finds out Devin isn’t gay because he catches him and Skylar fresh after some sex, he spends an awful lot of time moping about that.  You came over to tell them that your sister was just killed by a ghost, man!  Maybe your crush goes on the backburner for a bit.  Especially since this guy is no great catch.  He was nice to you, sure, but you’ve known him for all of 2 days maybe and he’s kinda fuck ugly.  Skyler was probably my biggest issue with this movie.  There was just nothing redeeming about her at all.  We meet her immediately after she breaks up with her boyfriend which she reacts to in a way that makes her seem less distraught and more sleepy.  She then gets super bitchy because they don’t want to go to her magic wish cave.  She then convinces them by lying to them and saying it’s because her mom has cancer and she wants to try to wish it away when in fact she just wanted to wish to get her shitty boyfriend back.  And because you have to give something to the cave to get your wish, she brings her favorite necklace which looks exactly like shitty Mardi Gras beads, but those being valuable to a girl like this actually fits her character pretty well.  Just because they’re probably the most valuable jewelry she owns and not because she’s not used to showing her boobs for cheap plastic.  I mean, she’s known this Devin guy for all of 2 days, they just kiss for the first time, and she immediately starts taking his clothes off for one of the most icky and uncomfortable sex scenes I can remember.  There wasn’t nudity and I was actually completely fine with that, but that Devin dude really played it like a high school dude would.  Or maybe he just really wanted to honk her boobs and grab her butt and give her some light motorboating.  Generally, you just have to keep kissing and hugging with your clothes off and we’ll get the idea.  And I was okay with them cutting before the nudity would’ve happened ‘cause I just found the Skyler girl offputting.  Her character was annoying and her acting was bad.  Like pronounce every syllable bad acting.  You know the kind?  The kind that says, “Are you going to go to the cave or not?” instead of, “Are you gonna go to the cave or not?” but out loud it sounds really stilted.  Also, later in the movie this psychic lady calls her a “skinny heffer.”  First of all, those terms are contrary.  Second, she ain’t skinny.  She ain’t a heffer either, but that just makes it more of a confusing thing to say.

Here’s a couple other random things I couldn’t figure out how to fit in to the rest of it.  Devin and his mom are moving and assumedly packed all their belongings for the move, but all he unloads from the car are like two suitcases, and watching him remove them from the car they seemed like they were completely empty.  Why does it seem like the lunch these high school kids are eating is granola bars and Capris Sun?  Did they forget their Lunchables?  They have a big argument about how the guys are gonna leave Skyler if they don’t find the cave soon, then immediately one points at the cave that is huge and probably 20 feet away from where they were arguing.  Who brought xylophone to the wishing cave?  And what were they wishing for?  A better xylophone?  Why is Mick’s sister acting like she’s choking when Kooshball’s hand is on the back of her neck?  When Devin’s mom and grandma find out that Skyler was trying to convince him to go find this cave and he wasn’t interested, why do they go on and on about how he better stay uninterested?  I mean, I wouldn’t be interested in going to some stupid wishing cave either until the two of you made such a big deal about it.  Now I’m curious.

There is probably plenty more to say about Hallowed be Thy Name, but the only thing I can think left to say about it is there’s no reason for anyone to watch it.  The story is basic horror stuff, there’s no scares at all, and pretty much all of the acting is awful.  There are much better uses of your free time.

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