Sunday 30 January 2011


Out now on DVD and Blu-Ray is Joe Dante's new kids horror film, The Hole.
Watch the trailer and read more, next...

After moving to a new town and into a new house, brothers Dane and Lucas (Chris Massoglia and Nathan Gamble) discover there's a hidden trap door in their basement that appears to be covering a bottomless pit. After trying to work out what's in it with the neighbour girl Julie (Haley Bennett), they decide to leave it for the night, forgetting to re-bolt the locks. Soon, whatever was residing within escapes into their house and starts to use their worst nightmares against them.

The Hole marks Joe Dante's big return to feature directing after spending a few years working in television. It's fair to say his last big screen effort, Looney Tunes: Back In Action, was not well received, but it appears he's had adequate time to recharge his batteries and creative juices. Let us not forget, this is the man who gave us The 'burbs, Innerspace and Small Soldiers, not to mention The Howling, Piranha and my personal favourites; the two Gremlins movies. From that filmography you can see that Dante is a man who likes to blend his genres together, meaning the unexpected is the norm with him.

With The Hole, Dante has created a fun family adventure that's also a terrifying experience for adults; like an unholy cross between Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and Poltergeist, all mixed together in some huge dark void. The Hole feeds on Dane, Julie and Lucas' deepest fears, releasing horrible panda-eyed little shoeless girls and a rather disturbing jester puppet. I believe the medical term for a fear of clowns is Coulrophobia, and if you're a sufferer, this really isn't the film for you.

When released in the cinemas this film was in 3D, but as per usual has lost that extra dimension on its disc based release. I didn't get to see the film at the cinema in its 3D format, and although I can see how the huge dark expanse could throw up a world of possibilities in 3D, I don't really think this film is missing anything from its down conversion.

After drawing on the regular Dante staples of teen romance and disturbing family trauma, the film's big finale (which brings to mind Dante's segment from the Twilight Zone movie) does fail to deliver on the initial set-up. The Hole may often work as a straight horror movie, but it is aimed at kids so it was never going to be too traumatic. However, with its creepy realisation of basic horrors and disturbing visions, The Hole will succeed in scaring the bejeezus out of kids, and may just prove equally as effective to those of a nervous disposition. 

A wholly satisfying family adventure with plenty of scares along the way.


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