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Welcome to Dark Hollow

Plot Overview

Bible in handMiss Lacy Anderson (Catherine Oxenberg) is proprietress of the Renaissance Art Gallery in Seattle and her younger sister Polly Adams (Ellina McCormick) is her assistant. These two broads compete for new meat that crosses their beaten path. Polly is the impetuous one, still a little boy-crazy and a chronic complainer, so the assumption is she's on the rebound from a failed earlier marriage. They were raised by Baptist parents who were “fanatics about the Bible” (“real fire and brim­stone”) but the girls seem to have suffered no adverse effects; they are loving sisters. Polly is a city girl through and through, but Lacy likes to rough it in the Pacific northwest. Dominant Lacy taps swinging Polly into accompanying her to “the middle of nowhere” to meet the Montana artist whose painting was purchased by their keen-eyed buyer Hans (Douglas Sebern.)

the word and prayerDark Hollow was once a booming lumber town, but now only two families remain, the Browns owning most of it. Ben Brown (Rod Steiger) runs the place and dominates his long­suffering sister Moira (Joan Benedict) who owns the hotel, restaurant, and souvenir shop. Ben's son Ethan (Scott Plank) is the laid-back sheriff of the place and his half-brother Sean (Eric Roberts) a strug­gling artist and fine fisher­man. Theirs is evidently a Catholic family the way they cross them­selves or pray at appropriate times. The brothers competed over a girl some seven years back and haven't gotten along since. They all pull together, though, in a neighbor­hood watch occasioned by County Sheriff Frankie's attempts to backtrack various missing female hitch­hikers (“People have been known to disappear.”) Ben has Moira discourage strangers from staying long. Ethan keeps a sharp eye on any women in town. And his artist brother draws their likenesses from memory. But since all his drawings are abstract, they're not much good for missing persons posters. And since the girls got bagged after crossing the bridge out of town, the sheriff's vigilance in town won't help much either.

phone callCrime fighting gets a boost when the two sisters from Seattle show up. First of all Lacy is a witness to French traveler Astrid (Christi Marsico) having actually come through town, and of her angry companion Vitally (Gabriel Clark) having struck her before they split up. With­out her cheap boy­friend's minimal support, Astrid also had to pawn some jewelry to finance her­self, which remained behind as evidence of her having been there.


Ben was marred by tragedy some thirty-five years back when his wife died in child­birth. Then he carried on an affair with his brother's pretty wife. They were eventually caught by ten-year-old Sean (“Your mommy's been bad”) and by his fish-weren't-biting-today dad (“Why hast thou given me an unfaithful wife?”) Obviously, Ben's religious training would have forbidden their affair. (Prov. 6:23-26)

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flat­tery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eye­lids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adul­teress will hunt for the precious life.

This movie elaborates on this very lesson. (Prov. 6:27-29) “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; who­soever toucheth her shall not be inno­cent.” There are certain actions that have expected results despite our contrary intentions. In our movie savvy Lacy brings an extra pair of hiking shoes to Montana, but clueless Polly takes off cross country in her heels. She steps in a rabbit hole and twists her foot. Duh! On a Montana highway, Lacy pulls over onto the soft shoulder to turn around, and her wheel gets stuck in the mud. Certain things happen when you do certain other things. Commit adultery for fun and you're likely to feel guilty regardless.

There's a range of severity of transgression. (Prov. 6:30-31) “Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore seven­fold; he shall give all the sub­stance of his house.” If you're poor and steal some necessity, you might be given a pass, though if caught you'll still have to make restitution. Sean was poor so we don't think ill of him when the pawned jewelry ends up at his place rather than in the store where it was sold. He needed the money and we under­stand. So, what?

(Prov. 6:32-35) “But whoso commit­teth adultery with a woman lacketh under­standing: he that doeth it des­troyeth his own soul. A wound and dis­honour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man: there­fore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.” Adultery is in a different class of sin, less easy to ignore. And since there's no way to make restitution, the offended party (“Why hast thou given me an unfaithful wife?”) is not likely to be mollified. Here the guy tossed his wife out into a gale (“I give you back to the sea”) and sacrificed him­self as well (“My fate is in your hands”) making his son an orphan whose trauma-induced art will eventually hit troubled Ben hard (“You reap what you sow.”)

Production Values

(2001) was directed by Robin P. Murray, from a script written by Mick Davis. It stars Eric Roberts, Rod Steiger, and Catherine Oxenberg. The speaking parts got spread around, all of them being handled well, especially some by local talent. Eric Roberts excelled in his silent scenes. The movie is not rated but contained violence, profanity, adult situations, and nudity. Its title The Flying Dutchman refers to a ballad about an ice-encrusted ship. Its poetry is quoted by the literate artist. Its various over­tures composed by Richard Wagner pervade the movie. The scenery is not the movie's strong point. Neither is the villain. Steady pacing is.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

The movie might have appealed to me more had I been a fan of the classical music that blankets it. It had a certain charm despite its dark side. For a mixture of genres it came out okay. The horror aspect unexpectedly has clung to my thoughts despite its predictability in the unfolding. It ain't a classic but it'll do in a pinch. But probably not for children.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for children: Not rated, but not children-friendly. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Predictable. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.