top of page


When the film leans into its Stephen King inspired paranormal subtext Holly shines brightest. Alas director Fien Troch is more interested in a bland morality that refuses to give clear answers.

It is no coincidence if your mind wanders to horror staple Carrie while watching Holly. As in the Stephen King tale the protagonist here is a teenage girl that might have special powers. But unlike its famous predecessor, Holly struggles to convey a clear message.

Things start off promisingly when the titular character phones in sick to school because she feels something bad will happen. Her premonition was right, as a school fire takes the life of ten students, and during its first thirty minutes the film deftly leaves you wondering how Holly knew this.

Unfortunately Fien Troch cannot sustain the tension bubbling underneath for long. As her focus shifts to Holly’s abilities to take away grief from strangers the director loses track of the implications for and reactions of her friends, family and teachers, which severely undercuts your suspension of disbelief and, consequently, your emotional involvement with Holly.

Not helping either are contrived subplots involving a mentally challenged school friend and a rather obnoxious teacher who longs to be pregnant and firmly believes Holly is some sort of saint. On top of that a couple of final act, stylistically and thematically jarring scenes that tragically debunk Holly’s saintly status border on the ridiculous.

That you’re still somehow involved with the goings-on by then is mostly due to the decent lead performance of 17-year-old Cathalina Geeraerts and a suitably eerie synthesizer score by Johnny Jewel. Yet the film’s final image is so confounding you start to second-guess even the bright spots in this sadly underdeveloped film.

release: 2023

director: Fien Troch

starring: Cathalina Geeraerts, Greet Verstraete, Robbie Cleiren, Karlijn Sileghem


bottom of page