The Hole Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 25, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2011
Strong start, weak finish.
Super Reviewer
April 3, 2010
Hard to think of this as a horror as it's a 12a (PG13), however I can see why as it is quite creepy and wouldn't be suitable for younger kids! An intriguing hole in the basement of a new house just has to be checked out by the young brothers, aided by the cute girl next door. They get a lot more than they bargained for when they decide to take the locks off and open the door.
It felt a bit like the 'Burbs/Disturbia, crossed with the Messengers. Which is no bad thing as they are all good films. It has some nice touches, set design and the young actors do a pretty good job. For those who like stronger horror don't be put off by the film rating.
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2011
Hail the return of Joe Dante. He never makes classic movies, but he does make favorites. I love Small Soldiers and Gremlins. Dante has a rather cruel sense of humor, which makes him perfect for directing kids movies. All kids are a little weird, but not enough films play up to this. I grew up with Goosebump books, Are You Afraid of the Dark on TV, and Tim Burton movies. Kids like to be scared, and here is a horror I would gladly sit any child in front of. It's quite sweet how outdated Dante and the writer seem to be. Even the insult "dickhead" is still muttered in this universe. Once the hole is discovered it's pretty much non-stop. A lot of it creeped me out, with clown puppets and little girls bleeding. Dante uses a mixture of effects to his advantage, before going all out CGI for the inevitable climax. The Hole is a film for kids that liks scary stories and monsters, without traumatizing them.
Super Reviewer
January 26, 2011
Is there any other director that can capture the adventurous imagination (Spielberg being a notable exception) like director Joe Dante? Done with the same awe and lighthearted feel that he brought with "InnerSpace", "Explorers" & "Gremlins" and there's even a shade of "The 'Burbs" thrown in.
Doctor Susan (Teri Polo) uproots her two children, teen Dane (Chris Massoglia) and younger brother Lucas (Nathan Gamble), to that old cinematic staple, the small American town. Soon the kids, joined by literal gal-next-door Julie (Hayley Bennett), discover a bolted-up trapdoor in the basement, exposing a hole that's seemingly endless and taps into each persons personal fears.
The master of the modern B-movie returns after a long hiatus and he hasn't lost his touch, showing the same enthusiasm and tension we are used to from him. Much of the film is based on the relationships of the three young characters, rather than taking the most obvious root of diving straight into the action. When the action does happen, it's impressively done, but unfortunately you can tell that it was intended to be viewed in 3D. On 2D it doesn't have the same impact and this will probably be a common problem with films that rely heavily on that format. Nonetheless, it's a well handled light horror that will appeal to all the family.
If your a fan of Dante's earlier B-movie suburban adventure yarns, then you'll find loads to enjoy with this recent addition, and just incase you're wondering, the answer is...yes. Dick Miller does make his usual cameo appearance for the director.
Super Reviewer
½ December 6, 2012
The Hole was released in September 28 of 2012, but it DVD release came out on October 2 was not a good sign. Another interesting fact was the film was made in 2009, yet no found distributor meant it could be bad. I will say this film surpassed my expectations though not everything came together as it should have.

The Hole is about a pair of brothers stumbling upon a mysterious hole in their basement that leads to the darkest corridors of their fears and nightmares. The plot is filled with interesting ideas that are never taken advantage off. You never feel the urged for the mystery to be solved. You just watch the movie as it plays out without thinking much about it. It has likable characters and goes into dark territory for a family film. It has interesting ideas that keep you invested to see what comes next. You never feel like shutting of the film, but it lacks appeal for the older audiences. References to older classics is not enough to make up for the flaws it contains. It contains dated jokes which won't get much laugh; like the younger embarrassing his older brother in front of a girl he likes by saying where should he put his Jonas Brother CD's.

My main problem was the wooden acting from its young cast. I especially disliked lead Chris Massoglia lack of passion in his role. He never once changes expressions nor acts the proper way he should in scene. His lack of commitment to his role really hurts the movie as he drags the movie down. He is a likable actor, but we never makes good use of his role. As for actress Haley Bennett is simply there to please the younger teenage crowd who want someone pretty to look at. The bad acting did take away from the movie as it took me out of the experience. It's a shame too as Joe Dante did an excellent job directing. Dante knows how to tell a story with a good eye for visuals. I hope Dante gets another opportunity to truly show off his talent.

The Hole is a disappointing experience, but I can recommended it as a family film. It's a decent movie that captures the essence of other similar of other family films like Gremlins. It makes for a good family film, but everyone else wish for something more.
Super Reviewer
November 29, 2012
A great scary movie save for an absolutely horrible ending, The Hole is actually very scary and entertaining, and is pretty impressive in that it is very scary while remaining relatively tame for a scary movie. However, don't expect it to end well. The ending is not only anticlimactic and cartoonish, it's also completely devoid of scariness and nearly ruins the rest of the movie. Nonetheless, as long as you take the ending with a grain of salt, The Hole is tons of creepy fun and well worth watching.
August Seria
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2011
Creative, spooky and most of the parts, believable. I thought this is going to be another corny attempt on a fun adventure thrill ride for youngsters though I'm surprised to see that it is for everyone and it does deliver the fun and adventure in style and scares.
Super Reviewer
½ January 19, 2011
A largely successful 'teen horror' actually suitable for the family (well, I'd say 10 and over). Joe Dante is a cine-literate, clever man who knows what he is doing and does it without preaching, and clearly likes his audience. The titular hole brings forth the fears of those who have opened it: absent fathers, dead girls, and (in one especially scary sequence that riffs gently from Poltergeist) clown puppets. There's a few 'dickhead's, 'piss off's and one moment of brief but memorable gore that shows Dante and the writers won't pull their punches, and some ingenuity in the use of space and a clever finale involving false perspectives. If there's one thing that lets it down it's that the actors - though very good - don't always seem *that* scared about what is happening to them, and so some of the jeopardy is lost as a result. But overall this is a solid, clever, funny and sometimes scary flick.
Super Reviewer
October 2, 2013
A horror movie for children that hasn't been toned down at all. Creepy stuff!
Francisco G.
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2012
A fun little movie that seemed to be out of the 80s if it weren't for the contemporary references. It's the type of teen horror flick that should've been made for our current audiences more often, because it's funny, easy to follow, scary, has heart, makes us care for these characters and doesn't fool us with a forced PG-13 where the gore was let out, to be put later onto an Uncut version. No, the intentions are honest and don't fool us.

It's a shame that it's not a very secure movie. It plays way too safely with the given elements and doesn't try to go to the next level, much like Gremlins did so well and it's still a guilty pleasure to this date. A passable but enjoyable flick, reminiscent of the good old teen thrillers of the 80s.
Super Reviewer
October 2, 2010
I liked it enough. There were a couple of creepy elements, and this is a horror that is aimed towards children. If I were younger I would have found this film too scary.
Super Reviewer
½ October 9, 2010
"The Hole" is a good horror family movie with a simple plot and a great cast of young actors. The atmospehere of the movie it's good and you have entertainment and some fun, with some good scares and spooky moments.
Perfect scares for the young/adult horror fan!!
July 2, 2014
It's not all original, but it's all fun and all very precisely made. Can't fault the production at all.
October 11, 2013
This is the kind of horror film for younger audiences that aren't really made anymore - has some thrills yet won't traumatize younger viewer... nor will it annoy the adults. While it lacks the "live wire" charge of his best work (Gremlins, the original Piranha), Dante shows that he still has a firm grasp on the ennui of suburban life while guiding effective performances from his young cast and peppering the story with relate-able adult theme. Kinda chintzy but effective nonetheless.
½ July 7, 2013
I love a good scary story, but it seems most horror these days go to the extreme in terms of exploitation. For that reason, I found The Hole to be a refreshing change of pace. Being that it is directed by Joe Dante, it plays out much like a movie version of Eerie Indiana, pushing the envelope slightly more in terms of language and intensity, but still appropriate for pre-teens. I love the current trend of 80s throwbacks myself! The concept is fun, but still very spooky, especially the first half of the film. Though it loses a bit of steam toward the end, it wraps up nicely and is overall a good solid story.
June 24, 2013
Im a big Joe dante fan, so i was glad to see that his new one finally got released after 3 years, it definitely has a good set up, even tho its a "kids" film, its not afraid to go to darker places, however the main kid is such a huge douche, couldnt stand that fucking scrub, and it pissed me off that such a hot cool girl would like him, he was also pretty stupid too, also unfortunately where the film ends up going is a bit weak, and there are some pretty big plot holes, and bruce dern needed to be in it more, hes barely in the damn movie, its not all bad, but couldve been so much more, mainly if they just didnt have the lead kid be such a prick
December 29, 2012
I liked this one by horror guy Joe Dante. Original and interesting. I liked the plot. Kept me interested the whole 98 minutes.
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