Watchlist Review: Hollow


Hollow follows a grieving mother as she considers taking revenge against the man who killed her child. This dark, revenge thriller explores the moral and religious intricacies surrounding the concept of revenge and redemption.


With the film festival debut of Paul Holbrook’s dark revenge thriller, we may be looking at one of the hottest streaks of outstanding short films from a filmmaker that we have ever seen. From 2016’s A Girl and Her Gun, through Sunday Worship, Cell, Shiney and Hungry Joe, we have been treated to both consistency of quality and the evolving voice of a filmmaker who has become adept at applying his lived experience to a multitude of themes and genres.

Reuniting once again with the formidable Laura Bayston, Holbrook brings us a meditation on grief, challenged faith and the true meaning of justice. This is all wrapped up in a darkly atmospheric and powerfully performed story with raw anger and racially charged conflict feeding into a slow building and inevitably explosive pressure cooker.

Just as she masterfully accomplished in Hungry Joe, Laura Bayston expertly carries the emotional load of the film, bringing focus to its themes and plot with a performance that is in turns chilling and heartbreaking. Her single-minded focus on avenging her daughter following the early release of her killer serves as a catalyst for some intriguing insights into the virtues (and indeed necessity) of forgiveness. Karl Collins’ Father Hill is a perfect foil for this debate, trying to awaken the good in Laura, while being tempted toward violence himself.

Collins and Bayston make a formidable pairing, with each embodying characters carrying unique burdens, one that cannot be escaped and another that its carrier refuses to relinquish. Their performances both complement each other while providing the primary roadblock to both of their respective journeys. Collins’ quiet conflict plays amazingly against Bayston’s intensely agonising and barely contained rage. This makes for a fascinating character dynamic that adds a compelling dimension to an already layered story.