September 30, 2012

Filthy Review - 'The Hole'

The Hole (2009)

Review by Jude Felton

The band Anthrax once sang that it’s “a long time, a long time comin’”, a line that could have very easily been written about Joe Dante’s family-friendly horror flick The Hole. The film was completed back in 2009 and is just seeing a release to Blu-ray and DVD in the States towards the latter end of 2012. There are reasons behind this, and Dante elaborates on these in a recent interview on; the long and short of it being that not enough theaters at the time had the 3D capabilities to play the film, resulting in it getting shelved. Of course, there is more to it than that, although it still remains a long wait for a film from the director of such gems as Gremlins, Inner Space and The Howling.

Before I continue though, I should just mention that this film should not be confused with the 2001 film of the same name, which stars Thora Birch. Two different films, my friends, and two films of greatly differing tones. Joe Dante’s The Hole, which unfortunately is not released in 3D format, is by all accounts a family film. It’s rated PG-13 and has the feel of an 80s or 90s flick, such as The Gate or even Dante’s Gremlins. There was definitely that classic vibe about the film, straight from the get-go, so it was interesting to see whether the story itself, and execution of, could back up that nostalgic feel.

The good news is that The Hole is a really fun movie. I will admit to having my concerns about it, with the lengthy delay on its release, but on the whole (or Hole) it is quite the charming little movie.

The plot of The Hole follows Dane, his brother Lucas and their mother, as they move once again to another new home. This time they move to a quaint small town and a house that is quite the picture. There’s a girl next door, who immediately catches Dane’s eye, and despite his complaints about moving yet again, he tries to make the most of it.

During some playful shenanigans with his brother they stumble across a locked door in the floor of their basement. Being the curious kids they are, they decide to open the door and it is then that strange things start to happen; a mysterious and creepy young girl is seen, an evil looking clown makes an appearance and a hulking great figure, all makes an appearance.

This being a Dante flick it is all down to the kids to try and work out what is going on. This involves a visit to the house’s previous owner, played by Bruce Dern. Can they put a stop to these strange and menacing events? What do you think?

The Hole is a fun movie, and you can tell that it is aimed towards a slightly younger crowd. There’s absolutely no blood or gore here, and the scares are of the gradual kind. This film isn’t going to give you sleepless nights, but there is absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t get some enjoyment from it. Just know what you are watching, before you watch it, and get yourself in a family-friendly movie frame of mind.

The Hole does lose its way a little in the latter third, where it takes a slightly more serious tone, but the film as a whole is quite enjoyable. Dick Smith pops up in a small cameo, and that is always good to see, and Bruce Dern gives a fun Doc Brown-style manic performance too. Teri Polo plays that boys’ mother, and is probably the only other recognizable face on display here. 

All the cast give good solid performances though in this old school style flick. There are a few extras included on the DVD (which is the version I watched), including a ‘Making of’, all of which make this worth checking out.

The Hole is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Big Air Studios on October 2nd.

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