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The Hole (2012)


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 28
Rotten: 7

Critics Consensus: A welcome throwback to the suburban teen thrillers of the 1980s, The Hole is a scary, enjoyable return to form for director Joe Dante.

No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Counted: 4
Fresh: 2
Rotten: 2


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 14,198


Movie Info

From legendary director Joe Dante comes a 3D thriller that explores the fears and secrets buried deep within the human mind. Life couldn't possibly get worse, or so thought 14 year old Dane and his 10 year old brother Lucas, when their single mother Susan uproots them from New York City to the sleepy little town of Bensonville. For Dane the only exciting thing about their new town is the beautiful girl next door, Julie. With Susan spending more and more time at work, Dane and Lucas are left … More

PG-13 (for frightening images, violence and some language)
Kids & Family , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
Mark L. Smith
In Theaters:
Oct 2, 2012
Hole LLC. - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Hole

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (7) | DVD (2)

No one understands that giddy rush of sugar buzz cinema better than director Joe Dante.

Full Review… | September 27, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

All the elements are here, they just don't add up to a satisfying whole.

Full Review… | September 27, 2012
AV Club
Top Critic

It's good to welcome back one of the undisputed masters of modern genre cinema -- and adventurous kids will love it.

Full Review… | September 22, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

Cool it may be, but scary (or even mildly shudder-inducing) it ain't.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Top Critic

The Hole doesn't have the frantic wit of Dante's Gremlins 2 or the political import of his Small Soldiers, but it has something just as satisfying: a thorough understanding of the psychological underpinnings of the genre.

Full Review… | June 17, 2013
Film Comment Magazine

On the surface, Dante's movies are juvenile horrors with some movie-savvy comedy thrown in, but underneath they're among the most subversive entertainments being made today. Hopefully future generations will discover this silly, smart gem.

Full Review… | May 20, 2013
Combustible Celluloid

Sadly, the picture is just too mild for its own good.

Full Review… | January 8, 2013
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Curb your expectations and know you're going into a film about how curious children overcome their fears, not how malevolent darkness torments a group of unsuspecting "victims."

Full Review… | September 30, 2012
We Got This Covered

A refreshing example of how to make a film for a specific demographic the right way. ... Smart, scary and fun as hell.

Full Review… | September 28, 2012

Entertaining, with a welcome sense of mischief, The Hole plays to Dante's strengths, returning him to a suburban battleground where young characters face off against an unstoppable, often knee-high malevolent force.

Full Review… | September 28, 2012

Catch THE HOLE in 3-D if you can, but watch it with your kids during this approaching Halloween. You might remember a time when horror was fun and creepy and less violent and exploitative.

Full Review… | September 28, 2012
Daily Film Fix

Now that it's finally here, it proves a sight better than its direct-to-video credentials suggest.

Full Review… | September 28, 2012

If you enjoyed recent scary-but-kid-safe thrillers like Don't Be Afraid of the Dark or Super 8 - albeit toned down for pre-teens - then The Hole is definitely worth a peek.

Full Review… | September 12, 2012

A fun kids horror film that may be a minor work for Dante, but still very satisfying.

Full Review… | October 5, 2011
Cinema Autopsy

Will be instantly recognizable to anyone who grew up watching movies in the 1980s!

Full Review… | October 18, 2010
Sci-Fi Movie Page

This is scary, thrilling stuff, especially considering there's very little actual violence or gore.

Full Review… | September 29, 2010

The return of director Joe Dante would be more welcome if his children's horror-thriller weren't so tepid.

Full Review… | September 29, 2010
This is London

Director Dante knows a thing or two about making teen thrillers, and this film gets the atmosphere just right without indulging in cheap movie gimmicks.

Full Review… | September 29, 2010
Shadows on the Wall

Scarier than any of this year's 18-rated horror crop.

Full Review… | September 29, 2010
News of the World

Scary fun for young teens.

Full Review… | September 27, 2010
Daily Express

With the 1980s increasingly looking like a golden age for live-action family blockbusters, Joe Dante, the decade's most subversive practitioner of the form, makes a welcome return...

Full Review… | September 27, 2010

Dante delivers some terrific spine-tingling chills on the way towards a disappointingly overblown climax.

Full Review… | September 23, 2010
Daily Telegraph

Audience Reviews for The Hole


It's nice to see Joe Dante back in the directors chair again. The Hole is all good fun and very reminiscent of his previous classics; Twilight Zone, The 'Burbs, and the brilliant TV series Eerie, Indiana. It didn't feel like anything new but rather a return to the films I loved in the 80's. I loved the Bruce Dern character, a real nod to Lt. Mark Rumsfield. That and the very much appreciated Dick Miller cameo did it for me, give me this over Super 8 everyday. Could the king of Cartoon kooky be back?

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

Julie: I know what you've got. You've got a gateway to hell under your house. And that is really cool. 

"It Knows Your Deepest Fears."

The Hole has the childhood nostalgia feel to it, while still being creepy enough to warrant a look from people above the age of 12. I don't believe it's going to scare anybody, but it is a whole lot of fun. The movie has its problems, sure. Like, if locks keep the "darkness" or whatever from coming up then why not just go buy some locks and put them on. But oh well, plot holes and all, the movie still works because of Joe Dante. Dante has made quite a few movies that have this type of feel to them; from Gremlins to Matinee to Small Soldiers. This isn't the best of them, but a nice little addition to his filmography.

Dane, Lucas, and their mother move to a new town from Brooklyn. Through early dialogue, we learn that they have moved a lot, and Dane is starting to get sick of it. When Dane and Lucas go into the basement one day, they find a trap door with locks all over it. Instinctively they cut them off and see that it's a hole that seemingly goes on forever. The neighbor girl, Julie, walks in and sees it too. Soon after weird stuff starts happening to the three of them and they begin to realize that the hole projects their greatest fears. 

The plot is nothing special and the movie isn't all that original, but there's a certain amount of fun that goes along with everything. The cast isn't too shabby, but they could have projected a little more fear from their performances. I mean the whole point of the movie is that their greatest fears come to life. If you look at them for most of the runtime though, it looks as if their 43rd greatest fear is coming to life. 

Anyway this little known and long shoveled movie merits a look. Especially if you are a fan of Joe Dante's. It isn't going to wow you on any scale really, but it's great diversion and something you could probably watch with the family without worrying too much. This would actually be a nice little way to introduce younger audiences to the horror genre before taking them into scarier endeavors.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

I was fortunate enough to catch the US world premiere of The Hole last night at The Castro Theater in San Francisco. After winning some accolades at TIFF 2009, the film failed to get a distribution deal and has basically been sitting on the shelf ever since -- which is a shame. The Hole represents a return to form for Joe Dante, who is the personification of a great genre director. Like so many, he broke into the business working under Roger Corman and his career trajectory has been very reminiscent: no classics, but a string of entertaining, creative and (if you know where to look) compelling films.

The Hole would have probably been awful if Dante weren't directing. He takes a pedestrian horror plot and gets so much out of it, thanks to his smart compositions, creative production design, and his ability to weave horror and comedy together seamlessly. Always ahead of the curve, Dante decided to shoot the film in 3D well before its resurgence, and he utilizes it very effectively -- concentrating on providing depth and texture to the environments and enriching the camera blocking he's famous for.

The film definitely sputters towards the end, but The Hole is worth watching (if you're able to find it). It serves as a great example/reminder as to why Joe Dante is a genre legend.

Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

Strong start, weak finish.

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

The Hole Quotes

Julie Campbell:
If you're talking about the little girl that crawled into the bottomless pit under your house? Yeah, we all saw that.
– Submitted by Warren J (22 months ago)
Susan Thompson:
How'd the two of you feel about having the house to yourselves?
Lucas Thompson:
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
Lucas Thompson:
Maybe it's a worm hole...
– Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)

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