‘Fear goes viral’
Hall is a 2020 Canadian horror feature film about a debilitating sickness that spreads across a long hotel hallway leaving its victims fighting to survive.
Directed by Francesco Giannini from a screenplay co-written by Derrick Adams and Adam Kolodny, based on Giannini’s story, the Franky Films production stars Carolina Bartczak (X-Men: Apocalypse), Yumiko Shaku, Mark Gibson, Bailey Thain and Julian Richings.
Naomi, a Japanese runaway wife, and Val, a helpless young mother, both struggling to escape an abusive relationship as well as a hotel hallway, which has been infected by a mysterious airborne virus killing everyone rapidly.
In this isolated and despairing space, fear becomes viral as the women run for their lives. In the face of contamination, is there hope at the end of the hall?
Hall premiered at the Arrow Video Digital FrightFest on 30th August 2020.
Black Fawn Distribution will be releasing Hit on all major Canadian VOD platforms on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. A physical release of the film is expected to follow later this year.
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“For the most part, until a spectacularly ill-judged post-credits scene – which if the director has any sense whatsoever he will remove before it hits distribution – Giannini has crafted a riveting, at times teasingly-abstract apocalyptic nightmare primed by domestic violence horrors and psychological trauma.” CineVue
“Very little happens in the movie but Giannini creates a real sense of dread in such a limited setup. Here the insidious contagion of abuse is linked to the spread of the virus and the Ballardian payoff […] makes the politics of the film clear. It’s an intriguing piece that feels a little unfinished (it was completed during lockdown), but I rather liked its strangeness.” Dark Eyes of London
“Despite an 80-something-minute runtime, Hall feels shockingly padded, as though a short film hopelessly attenuated to feature-length. Its earlier attempts to pose as restrained and quiet clash with a second-half which over-indulges in genre cliches and tonally ill-suited choices, ensuring that it just doesn’t quite work in the end.” Flickering Myth
” …a film that is packed full with plague paranoia, domestic abuse, and conspiracy theory leanings, serving up some sympathetic characters that are easy to root for […] Giannini balances the drama and suspense well, including with hallucination sequences that make the film satisfyingly more disorienting.” Ghastly Grinning
“In order to generate maximum tension, and sense of dread and atmosphere, Giannini keeps his world small, limited almost exclusively to two hotel rooms and the hallway that they share. By keeping everything tight and enclosed, he generates an intense atmosphere from which the characters must escape.” The Hollywood News
“It’s a concept that allows Giannini to include some poignant scenes and a couple of decent scares, but at just 80 minutes the relatively slow build-up makes it feel like an afterthought. On a related point, though there’s tension between the family members, the emotional resolution is less dramatic than I thought it would be, as the story crawls rather than runs.” Horror Cult Films
“From the department of short film ideas steam-rollered out to feature-length comes 75 minutes of people crawling down a corridor when they’re not talking to each other very slowly indeed in hotel rooms […] Slow, dull and with little to commend it.” House of Mortal Cinema
“With low-key, intense performances – a 2020 horror trend, welcome after so much hysteria – and an ominous thrumm of encroaching dread, this expresses very contemporary terrors – but is also rooted in universally upsetting issues. This is Giannini’s first feature and marks him as a talent to watch.” The Kim Newman Web Site
“Hall won’t be every viewer’s cup of tea, and understandably so, as what is written here to be admirable can also be seen as tiring and a test of patience. If anything, though, Francesco Giannini’s budding style proves to be something worth looking out for, and most will find something to appreciate about his debut.” Loud and Clear
“Every character in Hall acts as if nothing is going on in the outside world and their carefree oblivious attitudes to the horrendous infection, which we see in graphic detail overtake and end their lives as they die in the hall of the hotel, seems ridiculous especially when there are children involved. Boring, bland and badly made there is very little to recommend about Hall…” Love Horror
“I must credit the pulsing soundtrack by Michael Vignola, and claustrophobic cinematography by Graham Guertin Santerre. (Something is telling me I appreciated Hall more than I first realized.) The only snag with the film was that there was not a great deal of plot: I found myself surprised when I got to the end that there was no more.” Ready Steady Cut!
” …relies more on characters and their backstories than on scare tactics to keep the film running. And these backstories are at least as interesting as just another pandemic thriller, with a competent cast and a directorial effort that’s grounded and atmospheric at the same time adding to a whole that’s well worth a watch!” Search My Trash
“As patriarchy and pandemic collide in the corridor, either one proves equally inescapable for these two women hoping against hope to break their children out into a healthier world beyond. It is a taut, hallucinatory, not-quite-zombie film in which women are exposed to the worst pathologies of the human condition.” Sight & Sound
“It gets a lot of things right and oozes atmosphere even if there isn’t much in the way of action. If you’re into conspiracy theories, or at least don’t mind them then, obviously you’ll like this more than I did. I just got sick of being hit over the head with it.” Voices from the Balcony
Cast and characters:
Carolina Bartczak … Val
Yumiko Shaku … Naomi
Mark Gibson … Branden
Bailey Thain … Kelly
Julian Richings … Julian
Vlasta Vrana … Peter
Val Mervis … Dianne
Dawn Ford … Christine
Genti Bejko … Jonah
Kim Richardson … Dolores
Kathleen Fee … Betty
Marc Natoli … Jose the Waiter
Rebecca Rowley … Woman in Hallway
Georgie Iordanidis … Young Girl
Mohamed El-Husseini … Man from Couple
MOVIES and MANIA round-up and rating:
There are some excellent performances from the cast in Hall and there’s often an undoubtedly claustrophobic atmosphere of doom and despair. That said, the first half is over-burdened with domestic drama that overshadows the ongoing horrific plague. And as its uninspiring title suggests, Hall is a half-developed idea that feels like a short extended to feature-length; tellingly the end credits include shots of an assertive newsreader explaining what has gone before.