Look under your carpet! Chances are something worthwhile is swept under there. I would have passed this one right by if I had not found out it was directed by the great JOE DANTE (GREMLINS). Even with that information, I admit to being a little hesitant. Who wants to see a movie about a hole? I guess it’s admirable to keep a sense of mystery afloat but talk about hiding your light under a bushel! Folks, if your movie features a diabolical harlequin doll, lead with that! The evil doll is always your selling point! You can’t say, “Oh, this movie is about a hole in the ground” and leave it at that. That’s crazy. So now, please allow me to rectify that slight and tell you first and foremost that THE HOLE has an evil doll in it and it looks like this…
…nuff said… but I’ll say a little (spoiler-free) more. In truth, this semi-dark fantasy isn’t any more about a doll than it is about a hole. It’s about three young people facing their fears and childhood traumas. If you are a fan of DANTE’s GREMLINS, his surreal, superior segment in THE TWILIGHT ZONE MOVIE or his lovable penchant for DICK MILLER cameos, you’ll want to jump into this pit. We’re not talking new territory by a long shot but if you grew up delighting on the likes of THE GATE, POLTERGEIST, PAPERHOUSE or DREAMSCAPE , the familiar places THE HOLE takes you may produce a frothy nostalgic buzz more valuable than innovation. I certainly wish the climax was better played for more impact (our mostly likeable lead freezes up during scenes with the most emotional potential) but that’s a small gripe considering the fun had throughout. Like DANTE’s best work, it can be appreciated by folks of various ages and any remarks that it may be too dark for children I’ll translate to mean it doesn’t condescend. One thing is clear, THE HOLE deserves much more attention than it has garnered thus far and even though it sometimes feels like half the film it was meant to be, it’s still worth a spin, if only to catch DANTE once again relishing how small things cast large shadows.
I enjoyed the movie. I knew it was aimed at the PG-13, pre-teen crowd.
It did seem like it could have been a whole lot more, but worked fairly well within the confines of the budget and rating. I was creeped out by some sequences, specifically of the “things” crawling back into the hole. If I had seen this at 11 years old I would have loved it!
Quinn Lord played the little girl Annie! He is best known for playing Sam in Trick ‘r Treat. I saw that he also had a small part in The Possession.
My favorite Joe Dante films are:
Gremlins, The Howling, Inner Space, Matinee, and The ‘Burbs.
The ‘Burbs is the fave of the bunch. I found this on a Tom Hanks dvd collection. It also included The Money Pit and Dragnet. Good Stuff.
I liked this one – I just couldn’t figure out what the deal was with the guy with all the light bulbs (Laura Dern’s dad). Was that ever explained and maybe I just missed it?
I’m not sure how I feel about the lead actor – Chris Massoglia. IMHO he’s a pretty mediocre actor whose main talent is not getting in the way of the superior performances of everybody around him. However, I also liked the only other film that he was in – Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. That’s two films that really have some major defects but I like them anyway. He’s 100% on that score. Is there some kind of alchemy there or just a coincidence?
Also, just as a general FYI, I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix streaming lately and I would direct the attention of my fellow Traumaniacs to the following stuff that may not be popping up in the “Top Ten for You”:
Rare Exports (see Unk’s review)
The Warriors (Yes! Which gang would YOU fit into best? I’d probably be an Orphan)
The Devil’s Rock (I’ve mentioned this one before – solid film, terrible cover art)
Shutter (The original Thai film – very creepy)
I would have loved this one as a kid too! Like THE GATE it reminds me of how much fun it was when the parents were away ! I had no idea that a boy played the little girl! I did think the wig was weird ! Thats a good piece of trivia, cant believe it was Sam! I have not seen The Burbs in forever- must fix that- Love Dante, he really has a singular, wonderful style and I wish he made more movies! I love both Gremlins 1&2 and The Howling and I think his is the best segment in The Twilight Zone movie.
I hear you on Massoglia. I really liked that he was kind of awkward and mumbly in the beginning but then when he had to confront his dad he just acted like a wood plank. I thought there was so much potential in that final confrontation and he just didn’t bring what he needed to.
All I know about Dern was that he was the guy who previously lived in the house and was the previous caretaker of the trapdoor.
The Warriors I love, must watch that soon, big part of my youth. I promise I will get to Devils Rock. Youre right, its that cover that keeps stopping me! The trailer looks kind of like THE KEEP though so I’ve gotta give it a try!!!
Im also eyeing “Iron Sky”, the one about Nazis on the moon!