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The Hole (2009) is Family Friendly Terror

The Hole

After relocating, brothers Dane and Lucas discover a bottomless pit in the basement of their new home that knows their worst fears and uses them to torment the boys. While Lucas and Dane attempt to solve the mystery of the giant, never ending hole in their basement, whatever lurks in that hole grows more and more unruly and puts the boys in grave danger.

The Hole was filmed in 3D and any theatrical exhibitions were presented in the 3D format. But since the film received an almost nonexistent theatrical run, and the DVD release is in 2D, the three dimensional effects become somewhat pointless. There are a few shots that appear especially gimmicky because they are supposed to be seen in 3D but on the DVD version of the film, these scenes just read as a dramatic pause with nothing substantial taking place onscreen.

I’m almost always a fan of Joe Dante (Gremlins) and The Hole is no exception. Dante serves as the film’s director and is mostly successful in creating a highly atmospheric production. Atmosphere is particularly important because The Hole aims to be a family friendly horror film and without a high body count or other typical gimmicks that R-rated films can resort to, The Hole is limited to that which can be deemed appropriated for a 13-year old. There are a couple of occasions where the tension is broken by out of place dialogue or other similar pitfalls but for the most part, the film stays on track. The Hole is deliberately paced and gradually builds to a grandiose conclusion that will not leave audiences disappointed.

Mark L. Smith (Vacancy) is responsible for the screenplay. And for the most part, it works. There is some dialogue that makes Smith seem a bit out of touch with today’s youth but as a whole, the script lends itself to a smooth transition to the screen. My only other criticism of Smith’s screenplay is that it comes a little too close to the subject matter explored in The Gate. However, even if the idea isn’t wholly original, it still works.

I’m not always a fan of child actors, in fact, I’m usually not a fan, but the young cast of this film actually did a pretty good job of carrying the feature. Chris Massoglia (Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant) is a little too moody at times but his portrayal of Dane is mostly right on the mark. And Nathan Gamble is (The Mist) very good as Lucas. Hayley Bennett (The Haunting of Molly Hartley) also turns in a fine performance. She is refreshing as the sassy girl that lives next door. The young cast works well together to keep the film moving and makes the audience sympathetic to their plight in the process.

The Hole is a great segue for horror loving parents that want to share their love of the macabre with their children without scarring them by exposure to something too mature for their age group. There are plenty of jump scares and things that go bump to keep the audience on their toes throughout the film’s running time but there’s nothing in the film that is sexually explicit or so overtly violent that it renders the film inappropriate for children. Kids that are old enough to differentiate between fantasy and reality will have a fun time with this picture.

The Hole received very little marketing exposure at the time of its release; so if this title passed you by, give it a chance. It’s a fun, family friendly, film with some legitimate scares that won’t scar your kids too badly. It is available on DVD now.


Director(s): Joe Dante
Writer(s): Mark L. Smith
Stars: Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett
Year: 2009
Studio/ Production Co: Bold Films
Budget:  $12 Million
Language: English
Length: 92 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Supernatural Horror

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dogs, and cat hat(s).
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