In a small town in the Deep South, a young local is killed along with a couple of young tourists. One of these tourists being a congressman’s daughter from out of state, the case is assigned to the F.B.I. who sends agents Vaughn Killinger and Sarah Desoto to investigate. As Killinger battles his demons and Desoto tries to keep things together, a tangled web of connections and secrets is unraveled. Writer/director Miles Doleac builds an effective suspense thriller murder mystery. The characters he creates are complex with no one being good or truly bad. His characters are very human with different flaws of varying gravity, none fully hate-able.
These characters are not loveable either but in most cases their intentions are good or trying to be good. The script and the characters create good tension and suspense. The cast of these characters is led by Miles Doleac as Ray Everett, the sheriff, James Callis as F.B.I. Agent Vaughn Killinger, and Christine Seidel as F.B.I. Agent Sarah Desoto. All three do well with their parts, Callis getting the most meat on his character’s bones and the most emotional variety to work with, allowing him to show range and that he can handle more emotional scenes. His character has issues and demons and this gives him more to work with. Doleac’s part is a strong, sketchy officer of the law who’s forced to let others on his territory and he plays it well, giving off a nicely territorial vibe with a touch of self-preservation.
Desoto for her part is almost more of a supportive character with a lot of screen time. Her subplot with Callis’ Killinger is almost unnecessary but while it does not bring much to the action, it does give more depth to her character and thus to her performance. Also notable in smaller but impactful performances are William Sadler, Jeff Fahey, and William Forsythe. The Hollow uses its locations like extra characters. For example, the D.C. bar at the start has a special quality to it with lighting that makes it feel like a warm and comforting place. Later into the film, Big John’s mansion is shown towering in all its plantation-style grandeur, lit in a way that makes it stand tall and proud in its environment. The house is imposing, regal, and almost scary.
Both of these locations are used to establish characters and add to the feel of the film and they work beautifully well. Adding to this is the cinematography by Ben McBurnett that frames these locations as well as the small town and its surrounding nature in a way to make them one of the film’s stars. The film looks good throughout, pulling the viewers in the scenes and making them feel the action with visuals that add to them.
The Hollow is a good whodunit-style suspense thriller with enough characters to make one’s head spin. These are kept in order with good writing and directing as well as talented performances. The clues dropped along the way will help the viewer get an idea of who might have done it with some guessing it about midway through but without clear proof until the end. This does not however take away from the film’s enjoyment and its ending is quite satisfying. The webs of secrets and interpersonal connections it builds pay off in the end when things come together and make sense without taking the viewer for an idiot and over explaining everything.