HALLOWED BE THY NAME Film Review —Teens Vs Demon

A young man lies paralyzed on a couch as a phantom wearing a dark cloak towers over him. He struggles to cry out but can only manage to cry silently. He looks on agonizing as the figure hurts someone close to him. He cannot make the slightest move to help her.  And, the phantom is moving in on him next.

 Hallowed Be Thy Name is an indie horror film from writer/director Taylor Ri'chard. The story opens with two boys making their way to a cave deep in the woods, one of them rather reluctantly. They enter the dark cave and eventually come upon an altar of sorts. It is lit with candles and filled with all manner of objects-stuffed animals, toys, jewelry, etc. They foolishly mess with the objects and meet a dark end.

The story then jumps to following Devin (Collin Shephard) as his life is uprooted and he is forced to move to rural Louisiana with his mom (Fiona McQuinn) due to his parents impending divorce. He meets a very friendly classmate Mick (Bryen Lenis) and his moody best friend Skylar (Alissa Hale). Skylar convinces them to all go to the cave, even though Mick and Devin are not that into it and once there, they remove two objects from the altar. They make it out of the cave, but their horror is just beginning as they’ve disturbed Cauchemar (Bill Barrett), a demon seeking revenge on those who take objects from his altar. The teens make several attempts to appease Cauchemar including visiting a psychic (Mamie Morgan), researching the man behind the Cauchemar legend ,and working with a priest (Richie Johnson); but this demon is hard to beat.

Hallowed Be Thy Name Didn’t Need a Large Budget to Create Suspense

Both the cinematography and demon design show you don’t need a large budget to create a suspenseful horror film, in this writer’s view.  Cinematographer Torin Penwell deftly heightens the tension throughout the film in some moments by having a long drawn out shot that builds the suspense of what is to come. Occasionally the shots feel quick and choppy which adds to our disorientation as the character’s battle onscreen grows increasingly more desperate and confusing. The makeup and costume design by Bethany Michal and Jaye Lish, respectively, for Cauchemar is simple yet effective. A billowing large cloak hid the demon enough to have us intrigued and puzzled. Then when we did finally see his face the design was menacing, yet not overdone. It strikes a good balance between human and demon leaving us uneasy.

Lenis takes us along with him on his emotional journey throughout the film as he navigates his feelings for Devin, dealing with Skylar’s string of drama and ultimately how he handles the horrors as they unfold. Fellow fans of horror films may agree that the highlight of the film is Lenis’s performance. He is so sincere in trying to connect with Devin and his relationship with Skylar. We get a short moment with Mick and his sister Lea (Lolita Price) and although it is brief, the actors manage to showcase a loving sister/brother bond that is tragically shortened.

Top notch acting notwithstanding, the plot of this film is a bit spotty.. The idea is deeply intriguing but the story gets lost, at least for this writer, in the history of the man behind the Cauchemar, rather than focusing on how the main characters relate to the demon. Many events happen in quick succession at the end and others may concur that they need more time to absorb the horror we are witnessing.

Hallowed Be Thy Name is a good choice for lovers of bleak, indie horror films, particularly demon haunting/possession stories.

Somewhat Recommended

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Collin Shephard
Alissa Hale
Bryen Lenis
Bill Barrett
Travis West
Hal Whiteside
Fiona McQuinn
Mamie Morgan
Richie Johnson


Taylor Ri'chard
Torin Penwell
Bethany Michal
Jaye Lish
Tabia Wade
Zachary Leffew
David Bergen
Andrew Cook
Sidney Giormani
Chris Peterson

For more about the film, follow @hallowedbemovie on Instagram.

Images courtesy of HALLOWED BE THY NAME Film

Taryn Smith

About the Author: Taryn Smith

Taryn Smith, Chicago Communities Associate Editor,  graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago's BFA Performance program in 2011. After graduating, she co-founded Realize Theatre Group and served as Executive Director for the company.  She has filled numerous roles while with RTG both on and off stage including making her playwriting debut with her play America, Inc . She has worked as a stage manage, designer, director, and actor. Outside of the theatre world, Taryn is a licensed massage therapist.

Click here to read more Picture this Post stories by Taryn Smith.

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