Joe Dante returns after his lengthy absence from cinema screens, having finally gotten rid of the memories of the lacklustre – and financially unsuccessful – Looney Tunes: Back In Action. His latest is a promising children’s horror film that guarantees laughs and scares, with ‘80s nostalgia to boot.
Two brothers, Dane and Lucas (Chris Massoglia and Nathan Gamble) and their mum (Teri Polo), move into a Mid-Western sleepy town to start a new life in a lovely suburban home (but with the owner mysteriously absent). While Dane sets his sights on beautiful next-door neighbour, Julie (Haley Bennett), Lucas discovers a mysterious hole in the basement.
This hole, covered by a door with multiple locks, seems too attractive to leave unopened, so Dane, Lucas and Julie decide to venture through this portal to discover what it contains. They learn that the hole is a place where fear and terror can manifest and seep out into their world. So it is up to them to find out how to destroy it before it destroys them.
The Hole might seem a bit cliché from the plot, especially considering that this type of horror piece (children’s horror) has been left relatively dormant since the 1980s (with Monster House being a recent exception). However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t very good. It’s a fun ride for people who want some scares and laughs, away from the pervading gore in films like the Saw franchise. Using a mix of tricky camera work, lighting, special effects and even stop motion, it never wears out its welcome, as every aspect of the film seems to have a purpose, making this a rich experience.
Although it is an imperfect film, considering the techniques used for the scares have been seen in countless films over the years, it is effective at what it does. While some of the acting was iffy at times, its depiction of human relationships is more realistic than most horror films, allowing us to grow fond of the characters, instead of wishing for them to die horrific deaths.
I could go into detail about what particular scares there might be in the film, but what’s the fun in that? If you go and see The Hole, go in there cold and you’ll come out of there entertained. At least with this film, if you aren’t scared, you’re going to have a fun time. While the film’s marketing might not be as effective as others, in this case, never judge a movie by its trailer.