Despite some promising moments, Hall feels like a wasted opportunity for director Francesco Giannini. As two women seek to leave their abusive husbands, a deadly virus is breaking out around them. Secluded to their hotel rooms, the two have little in the way of information as to what is happening, and are left to presume it’s a bad case of the flu for most people, but the truth is something far worse. Sound familiar?
Originally released at FrightFest 2020, Hall is finally receiving a release on digital, and despite feeling more relevant now than it did when it was initially released, it can only be said that Hall is another pandemic disappointment. Utilising the tight corridors of a standard U.S. hotel ensures that Carolina Bartczak & Yumiko Shaku’s characters are more or less shackled to their surroundings. Both have their reasons for wanting to escape the abusive relationships they have found themselves in, but the film fails to grasp either idea fully and feels like a limp attempt at something far grander. The virus breakout that plays very much in the background of the film, is the least fascinating aspect of the film, and yet it is the one given prominence by the director. The virus is revealed to be man-made and the state of anyone who is subjected to it is unclear, other than their zombie-like trance and occasional bout of violence.
Hall works best when it focuses on Bartczak’s character, Val, and her desire for her and her daughter to finally free themselves from Mark Gibson’s Branden. A particularly tense scene plays out when Val realises she is not the only one being abused, but this is all scuppered when the film then focuses more on the virus and places her daughter in the standard child in danger scenario. There are commendable elements on show here, and with more focus we may have gotten a better film, leaving Hall’s redeeming feature being that it is only 80 minutes long.
Hall is available on Digital Download and On Demand from 13 September.