The Hole in 3D (2010)

Begrudging his family’s latest move – this time to Bensonville, somewhere or other – older brother Dane (Chris Massoglia) quickly changes his tune when he realises he is now neighbours with catnip-for-teens girl-next-door, Julie (Hayley Bennett). Taking time out from their daily skirmishes, Dane and Lucas (Nathan Gamble) come across a locked hatch in their basement. Deciding to do the sensible thing and open it, the brothers – with the help of the enthusiastic Julie – proceed to investigate by dropping nails into its depths and lowering a video-camera down for a better look. Turning to ex-resident ‘Creepy Carl’ (Bruce Dern) when shit gets real, the children learn that the hole extorts fears, something Carl has interpreted as the darkness coming to get him – a belief he has remedied by robbing IKEA of every lamp in their possession.

With Coraline dutifully undoing the Daily Mail’s misguided attempts at scare-mongering, and reminding parents that children can take a shot of dark with their spoon-full of sugar (Child’s Play 3 is not evil, it’s just rubbish), the stage was set for Gremlins‘ Joe Dante to reclaim his crown as the king of creep. Re-introducing subtlety and suspense to a genre over-run with found-footage, reverse-bear traps and reimaginings, Dante’s The Hole up for its lack of gore with a string of atmospheric frights that succeed in bringing distinctly ’80s sensibilities to a new generation. Utilising clowns, a PG-13 Sadako and a surprisingly effective subplot which explores the reasons behind Thompson’s nomadic lifestyle, The Hole takes full advantage of its 12A rating.

However effective Dante’s direction, the film could have been quite easily undermined by lacklustre acting. Luckily, the three young leads prove a likeable cluster of characters with relatable fears and a natural rapport. While the sibling rivalry helps flesh out siblings Dane and Lucas – the relationship proving far less forced or saccharine than it might have in different hands – the addition of Julie completes a winning dynamic between characters you would quite happily see survive until the end, by no means a standard in the horror genre.

Although some may argue that the film loses much of its tension when the characters are forced to enter the titular hole, the shocking reality of Dane’s fears elevate the film from throw-away thrills to well-observed fervent fright-fest. Although the perspective-playhouse that houses Dane’s final confrontation with his fears verges on distractingly wacky, it suits not only the film’s utility of the third dimension but also the unnerving unreality of the hole itself.

While the movie balances effective laughs and scares with Dante’s trademark ingenuity, placing endearing characters in genuine peril while appealing to the audiences own fears and worries for added impact, the extras hold their own with a series of (thankfully – are there any other kind?) deleted scenes and an interesting director’s commentary. It is also worth noting that, while effective in the cinema, the 3D is not missed on the small screen. On the whole, however, The Hole is an enjoyable and surprisingly mature horror film that marks the long-overdue return of director Joe Dante – last seen behind the camera for the disappointingly juvenile Looney Tunes: Back In Action.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to The Hole in 3D (2010)

  1. Pingback: August 2011 – Smurfity smurf smurf smurf! « popcornaddict

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