THE HOLE

No, not the one with Thora Birch and Keira Knightly.

The one directed by Joe Dante, that took a little heat for having a setup somewhat similar to that of Tibor Takacs 1987 movie THE GATE.

It isn’t really. Except in the broad strokes, and the fact that it’s being pitched as Horror for a younger audience.

I saw this when it hit cinemas in 3D. It was then and remains to this day the best use of 3D in a live action movie that I have ever seen.

Not that I’ve slavishly run to watch all that many – between the hiked up prices and the discomfort of wearing glasses over my glasses, I’m not that drawn to the gimmick. Not based on what I’ve seen so far. AVATAR did NOT blow me away.

Joe Dante’s THE HOLE however, is a solid, well made, and genuinely spooky movie that came out of left field and I had a damn good time both when I saw it at the cinema, and more recently when I stuck the bluray on one evening to watch it with my wife.

Safe to say, it wasn’t only the 3D that made it work.

In 2D on bluray, it works just as well.

Dante is a consummate film maker. What caught me most this time around was just HOW good a film maker he is. I’m 36 years old, my wife is 37. And it creeped the shit out of us more than once.

In fact that whole first hour is solidly creepy and just about perfectly paced. And it’s the quality of the film making that does it. It is classically made in the way it builds atmosphere and primes its shocks. And they work.

If it’s not exactly all that original, to be honest, I don’t really care. It’s a classy riff on a familiar theme. And while it’s a shame that Dante isn’t getting offered better material than this – or at least isn’t able to get backing for better material – it is such a pleasure to see such strong film making again. With shots and cuts that mean something. That are thought out, planned, and which tell the story instead of just recording it.

If the climax doesn’t quite deliver, still it’s been well built to and it’s beautifully designed. I just think that the teen lead doesn’t quite convince. He’s a little one-note. And, while it’s a note that works brilliantly for most of the rest of the movie, allowing a surprisingly affecting amount of underplaying, for the revelations of the climax, for scenes in which fears and emotions that have been locked away for so long are confronted, exposed, set loose and conquered… it falls short. But the film making and the production design still sell it.

THE HOLE won’t change your world, nor shake your cinematic evening to its foundations. But it will please you enormously if you appreciate what good film making really is. 

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