The Hole Reviews
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perfect scares for the young/adult horror fan!!