Monday, September 6, 2010
The Hole 3D
Directed by: Joe Dante
Starring: Chriss Massoglia, Haley Bennet, Nathan Gamble, Teri Polo, Bruce Dern
My rating: 8/10
The Hole 3D (not to be confused with the Thora Birch vehicle of the same name from 2001) is a good old-fashioned horror yarn for youngsters. No gore, no nudity, just good scares! A grumpy teenager and his little brother move with their single mother to a small town. They soon befriend the beautiful girl next door and they happen across a giant, ominous hole in their basement. The hole is seemingly infinite as the boys conduct a series of experiments including lowering a night-vision camcorder down and throwing a handful of nails in (to tremendous 3D effect, as you can imagine). What they don’t discover over the course of these experiments is that the hole, once opened, lets loose your greatest fear which then proceeds to stalk you. A simple setup, but it is used very well, not only for thrills but as a sometimes thought-provoking look at the fears that you don’t realise you have.
The very obvious but extremely effective “evil clown doll” is great for scares and a hammy throwback to old-school horror of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. The other “fears” are somewhat more cerebral and as the film progresses, some of the fun tends to get lost in the family issues storyline. However, it is a well-written piece and the script reveals drips of information at a suitably subtle pace. The young cast do very well in roles that should have been very annoying and there is an element of class to proceedings overall. While this is certainly not by any means an important or a very original film, it is great to see films aimed at kids that refuses to condescend to them. The Hole plays it for scares, and isn’t afraid to do just that. Children will be terrified and delighted in equal measure. The 80’s gave us kids’ adventures that dripped with real danger like The Goonies or Labyrinth, and of course Joe Dante’s Gremlins movies. These films were quite nasty, and unlike most of the saccharine rubbish kids are dealt these days, they are quite menacing. The Hole is a worthy successor to these films and isn’t afraid to push your nerves just that little bit further than you might expect.
From the poster and trailer I expected a tween adventure with a supernatural twist akin to Are You Afraid of the Dark or Goosebumps? To my delight, this was far more enjoyable than just a silly kids’ film. It is certainly directed towards young teenagers but the great thing about The Hole is that it is actually scary!
This film is full of menace but keeps the tone light enough to maintain the element of fun. Dante keeps you on the edge of your seat with constantly mounting tension and silly jumps that make the audience giggle as much as scream. This is as fun as horror gets and for once the gimmick of 3D is used as just that... a gimmick.
Certainly not high-brow but lots of fun and scarier than you might expect!