Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Hole (2001)

Not to be confused with The Hole (2009), The Hole (2001) (no relation) is one of those rare films that is such a brilliant spectacle, that you're left with very little to say about it, because it really speaks for itself, and you just gotta go and see it. All that I can say is a little bit about how good it is, and describe to you just what kind of a movie it is. Of course, I don't want to reveal too much, because it is a bit of a mystery, and the discovery is a crucial part of the experience. However, it's curious that so often you'll go into a movie, not really knowing what to expect from it. Sometimes (as in this case), the synopsis you read before turning the movie on doesn't even help you particularly much. And then of course there's the question of whether you're better off going in blind and being surprised, or whether having a better idea of what the movie is like helps to put you in the right mindset to enjoy it (and of course, decide which movies you want to watch in the first place).

Knowing, for example, that The Hole is about four students exploring an underground bunker when they're supposed to be on a field trip, doesn't quite prepare you for the "not everything is as it seems" crime drama that unfolds (think: a much darker Wild Things). For all I knew, I thought the students would encounter some kind of monster in that bunker. Well, in a sense, they did, but that's a whole different kind of monster. I'm left with the difficulty of succinctly describing the general essence of this film without giving away too much of its secrets. Let's try this: in the aftermath of a tragedy, authorities try to piece together exactly what happened to four students locked inside an underground bunker for several days at the hands of a sociopath. Ah, see, it sounds like I've given a spoiler away, but I've merely described the plot in broad strokes - it's the details that make a world of difference.

Anyway, The Hole is a cleverly-constructed, excellently-acted mystery/drama that paints a chilling portrait of the darkness that exists within some people's hearts - a darkness that less resembles an evil force of malice than total self-absorption and a callous disregard for other people's suffering, but the results of which are no less devastating. And now you better just go off and watch it, because if I go on, I'm bound to reveal too much (if I haven't already).


  1. I honestly find that a some descriptions on Netflix & Amazon give away too much... Like, Silent House for example, says "when she hears a noise, her descent into madness begins." well gee, you're not supposed to know she's hallucinating until like 3/4ths of the way through the movie, you're supposed to at least be wondering if her fears are legitimate. Buuuuut I'm nitpicking. It's up for debate. In any case I was glad The Hole didn't do this, the description was very basic and neutral. You did a great job of crafting perfectly to explain the plot better without spoiling anything.

    Anyhoo I don't know why but I love these kinds of bunker settings. And I love horror movies that are creepy in different kinds of ways. Like, the woods are fabulous, one of the creepest settings possible, but we do have a million movies based on how scary the woods are. It can desensitize you after a while. Then you have a movie like The Hole which is extra effective because you don't see a creepy bunker setting every day. Also recently watched High Lane where, at least for a while, the fear was based on how scary it'd be to teeter over a massive mountain inches from falling. I don't have a specific fear of heights but it's so refreshing to be creeped out by something unique, after watching so many horror movies that rely on most of the same things to creep you out.

    I'm also really glad you liked The Hole as much as I did. Because it only has like 50% on RT, meanwhile I thought it was one of the most brilliant horror movies I've ever seen. 'Course ratings don't mean much, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who sees how clever this film is.

  2. Yeah, it's a delicate balance, and it's curious sometimes which details this or that source chooses to focus on - whether it's the details that serve as a red herring, or those that give away the plot. I guess it's the same kind of dilemma that a trailer faces.

    I do generally like to go into horror movies mostly blind, as much because I can't trust anyone's opinions of it to dictate whether I'll like it or not as a desire to save myself from spoiling it. At the same time, if you're actually looking for something to watch, there's way too many titles out there - many of them not that good - and you need to have /some/ idea of which ones there's a chance you might like.

    But then, after I've watched them, I have a strong desire to sort of categorize them and sum up their essence. I think it's part of my collector's mentality, and my desire to organize things. I probably do that a lot in my reviews. Anyway, my general approach toward reviews (or at least mine in particular), is that you want to read people's thoughts about a movie AFTER you've seen it, not before. Before, it's just a sales pitch. After, you can actually have an interesting discussion about the movie.

    But then, I'm not completely immune to a desire to create a sales pitch for many of these movies, in the hopes that someone will read them and click one of my links so I can earn a percentage of what they buy on Not that that's happened even once yet in the several years now I've been writing for this blog...