Directed by Joe Dante. Starring Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Nathan Gamble, Teri Polo.
Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling, Piranha) gives us a film with B-movie undertones but that’s alright because let me tell you, The Hole has its spine-chilling, goose-flesh eerie moments that you seldom see nowadays in horror (read gore) films.
An abusive convict father pushes the Thompsons to move house often. Susan (Polo) isn’t the best mom around and her two kids Dane (Massoglia) and Lucas (Gamble) end up having to entertain themselves when she’s out making a living (or going on ‘work trips’ with eligible doctors from her hospital). They’ve just shifted to a small town into a house that holds a deep, dark secret beneath it.
Now, obviously there’s a teenage girl next door who the boys befriend and ultimately they stumble upon a bottomless hole — well actually it’s a locked square door that they eventually open — in their basement. And then, their worst fears are unleashed upon the three who must battle their demons with no adult help whatsoever. Which is sorta nice for a change. Dante is best known for his 80s flicks but he’s made these characters contemporary. The girl (Bennett) Julie isn’t afraid to take on the terrors unfolding before them. They’re all children of the video game and internet generation who have grown up early and aren’t that easily scared.
Dante has also used familiar terror tactics borrowed from films like Child’s Play and The Grudge. So you have an evil harlequin doll and a pale little dead girl crying black tears. But the creepy music and crisp timing of some of the scares will make you look up when you’re back home in your dark bedroom and hear a creek or a rustle.
The 3-D I wasn’t too impressed with but what they’ve done is they’ve used it like they would in the old days. Perhaps to add to that 80s family horror film feel. Like you’ll have iron nails falling and one drives straight through the screen to hit you in the eye. Let me tell you that I jumped back when that happened. But saying that, I think it may have worked without the 3-D too.
The Hole manages to frighten you without blood or gore and keeps up a reasonable level of suspense. There’s even a minor twist in the end involving Julie. I’m sure you’ve heard bad things about this film but if you’d like a bit of a scare this weekend then face your fears and look into The Hole.