Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Hole (2009)

It's a funny thing. When I first started watching The Hole, I was thinking, this is just what I need. A family fun horror movie with likable characters, that doesn't try to be ultra serious or gory or the next big thing in horror. Of course, then, in the second half, when it became apparent that the direction they were going with this hole idea wasn't what I had imagined, I started thinking, well, it's kind of saccharine, and it's such a good premise, it could be a lot better if it were darker and more serious. Go figure. At any rate, I'm a little disappointed that it didn't satisfy my expectations for the premise, but at the same time, it's still a really fun horror movie of the kind you might watch with your kids on a Saturday.

The premise, as I said, is a slam dunk. A young mom with her two sons (a brooding teenager and a bratty preteen - both charming in their own ways) move into a new home in a podunk town (right next door to a really hot neighbor girl), and discover a mysterious trap door in their basement. Beneath it is a deep, dark hole. In fact, it appears to be bottomless. And once the trap door is opened, what comes out of that endless darkness is a supernatural force that latches onto and gives life to the greatest fears of those who are nearby. It's like Nietzsche's famous quote, "when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you," except more in the PG-13 "monster under my bed" than the hard R "deep psychological trauma" kind of way.

And that's the only bad thing I can say about this movie. This whole hole business is rife with potential. I could even imagine a Lovecraftian cosmic horror vibe to it. I mean, come on, finding an unsettling bottomless pit in your basement? The fear of what's down there, or what might be living there? Honestly, I was hoping for more of an adventure aspect - like, actually going into the hole and exploring how deep it goes, down into the bowels of the Earth, and, perhaps, literally into hell itself (and not just a world of psychological illusions). And the beasts that could live there. Ah well. Sometimes I wonder what purpose my dark imagination serves, and whether it will ever be satisfied...


  1. Hmmm interesting, didn't think this was your kind of movie. I recently watched it and had similar feelings to you. If you like this kind of thing there's a movie that looks similar in tone called Abandoned Mine that recently came out, which I'd like to watch someday.

    JFYI Netflix has ANOTHER movie called The Hole. It has nothing in common with this movie's premise (it's more about a bunker or a fallout shelter) but I thought it was bloody fantastic and it'll definitely make it somewhere on my bests list at the end of the season.

  2. This Hole was directed by Joe Dante (who also did Gremlins, and The Howling), and there was obviously a nostalgia to it, harking back to the family movies of the '80s, like The Goonies, or (horror-wise) The Gate. It's not my normal type of movie, but there was a comfort and familiarity to it that I liked.

    That other Hole sounds good, though, I'll have to watch it.