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'Hollow' slips on its own bloodthirstiness

April 06, 2007|Michael Ordona | Special to The Times

There are buckets of blood in "Hoboken Hollow." Actual buckets. Plural. The movie is an unapologetic excuse to display a seemingly endless parade of dismemberments, electric shocks, stabbings, rape and cannibalism. If only the filmmakers had torn into the story with the bloodthirsty zeal they do the characters' bodies.

Drifters are lured to a Texas ranch by the promise of work but are instead made slaves, tortured by the psychotic family who run the place, ending up smoked and cured. The film owes much to the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" franchise, apparently repayable by the pound (of flesh).

The movie's not a mystery, as there are no clues to unravel. Nor is it a thriller, because although these able-bodied young men outnumber their barely sentient captors, they refuse to work together to escape. No, it's simply a festival of suffering -- by both victims and audience.

The most shocking thing about "Hoboken Hollow" may not be its incessant brutality, nor its almost sexual fascination with same, nor even that it seems to be loosely based on an actual 1980s case -- but that the cast includes Dennis Hopper, Michael Madsen, C. Thomas Howell and Robert Carradine.

Writer-director-producer Glen Stephens does occasionally have grim fun, but something as irredeemably sadistic as this packaged as entertainment is almost depressing.


"Hoboken Hollow." Unrated. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. Exclusively at the Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd. (323) 848-3500. Midnight tonight and Saturday.

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