The Hole (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/09/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Enjoyably old-fashioned horror from genre veteran Joe Dante, with a strong script, some suitably creepy sequences and superb performances from its young cast.

What's it all about?
Directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace), The Hole stars Chris Massoglia as troubled teenager Dane Thompson, who moves to a new town with his single mother, Susan (Teri Polo) and younger brother, Lucas (Nathan Gamble). After befriending the hot girl next door (Haley Bennett as Julie), Dane and Lucas discover a mysterious hatch in their basement and when the three of them pry the door open they find a seemingly bottomless hole.

Unfortunately, the hole has the ability to bring their greatest fears to life and soon Lucas is pursued by a hideous toy clown, Julie is haunted by the ghost of her best friend and Dane is confronted by a nightmare version of his abusive father.

The Good
The performances are excellent, with all three young actors sparking off each other nicely and creating a likeable rapport. There's also strong support from Teri Polo and fan-pleasing cameos from Dante regulars Dick Miller (as a pizza delivery guy who doesn't get any lines) and Bruce Dern, as the previous owner of the house who's terrified of the dark.

There's a pleasingly 1980s feel to The Hole and while it's fair to say that it's never particularly scary (unless, of course, you are terrified of clowns), it has plenty of genuinely creepy moments, most notably a great bit involving some video footage. In addition, the film was shot using proper 3D technology and the 3D effects are suitably impressive, such as in a shot of the boys throwing a handful of nails into the hole (and towards the camera) to judge how deep it is.

The Bad
The dialogue is extremely good and the script also works in several clever film references as a subtle treat for genre fans. However, the biggest problem with the film is that there's never a sense of things spiralling out of control (as in, say, Gremlins). Similarly, the characters are relatively unfazed by coming face-to-face with their greatest fears, so we're never particularly worried for them.

Worth seeing?
The Hole is an enjoyable, well made and superbly acted horror film that should play especially well with younger teenagers and fans of Dante's previous movies. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 18/10/2017 23:09

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