Horror is one of those tricky genres, just like comedy. Indeed, those two genres are quite interchangeable as a horror movie might scare one person and make another laugh, just as a comedy can amuse or horrify depending on the view of the beholder.

For me, a good horror film is built on the psychological side of things, like The Ring, or the original version of The Haunting. But there's no denying the market value of a slasher movie. The Hallow, despite a budget that probably wouldn't cover the catering for an episode of The Walking Dead, is in a place somewhere between the two strains.

The story centres on Adam and Claire Hitchens, a couple and their young child arrive in Ireland, as the husband - a British conservationist - has a job working in a forest in the proverbial middle of nowhere.

The supporting cast is tiny but impressive. Michael McElhatton plays Colm Donnelly, an angry neighbour who robustly informs the couple that they need to relocate to a less dangerous environment, while local Garda Davey, played by Michael Smiley, smiles a lot more but is in no mood to support the blow-ins.

The reason for this lack of a good oul' Irish welcome isn't because this foreigner's taking an Irish job, but that the land that Mr Hitchens is surveying happens to be hallowed ground. Before long, the locals are proved right as all sorts of horrible things start to happen and some nasty creatures come out to play and prey on the Hitchenses, with their daughter their ultimate target.

While it won't leave you the unwelcome gift of nightmares, The Hallow is an admirable first-time out for director Corin Hardy. You can see where every cent was spent, but that kind of adds to the fun. It's well worth the effort, and who could resist a horror movie released on Friday the 13th?

John Byrne