The Hole

Cover Art and Menu: 6/10
This cover has a hint of creepiness, which is what the film dishes up so it seems appropriate. The cover and menu both attempt to mirror the interesting, somewhat atmospheric opening and closing credits of the film. Fair to good would be my grade on the whole package.

Features: 5/10
Did someone say extras? I think we are missing a few here. There are some deleted scenes and a commentary, but other than that we just get the trailer and a Filmography of the cast. I would love to know more about the making of this particular film, and some of that comes in the commentary, but just one little behind the scenes feature would have been nice.

The Movie: 6/10:
The score might seem low, but the truth is I enjoyed this movie, it just didn’t have a lot going for it beyond the high concept and some well done dehydration make up. Oh yea, and Thora Birch is always interesting to watch. Since American Beauty and Ghost World, I have been a huge fan and she gives The Hole the same semi-sarcastic, always natural performance.

The high concept is that a lone student returns bloodied and emaciated after being missing for eighteen days. An investigation begins and  your journey begins through the story following the girl’s recovery and therapy, you learn what actually happened to she and her three classmates.

It’s one of those films that starts in the middle of the story, travels back in time, and then back to reality where it then moves the main character on into her immediate future, just enough to resolve the whole sordid tale. There are the standard flashbacks, some real and some fabricated, but nothing really innovative enough to make this movie really stand out.

I have to say though, Ms. Birch and Ms. Knightly do a fine job and in general the whole cast is pretty good. We aren’t talking Academy Awards here folks, but we are talking about characters who are much more interesting than most teen flicks are these days. I would attribute that to the performances of the cast, not necessarily to the writing.

The dialogue at times can be a hair fragile, as in, it flip flops between manufactured creepy movie dialogue and well thought out semi-realistic conversations between the people living in the story. You be the judge of which is which.

Along with the fairly solid acting, the costumes and make-up are what add the most ambiance to the scenes. They are trapped for 18 days with barely any food and little to no water. That has a tendency to take its toll by giving them that living dead look that’s oh so hot this year.  The disintegration of their conditions including the dirty clothes with the appropriate rips and tears, along with zombiefied complexions keeps the creepy theme alive. Well, that and the fact that they are trapped in an abandoned underground bunker custom made for teenage partying and premature deaths! This bunker would be The Hole, in case you hadn’t pieced that together. The set itself has a tendency to give the whole thing enough ambiance to get you through your next three horror flicks. You even get to see Keira Knightley do some serious lunch tossing into a wretchedly disgusting toilet. It’s lovely and oh so cinematic.

As I said, I liked this movie. However, it falls short of being as clever as I think they were trying to be. It’s paced well, looks great, and is even somewhat original in the “who, what, when, and where” of the story. It’s the “why” that kind of falls short for me.  I would like to have been given something more thought provoking, more stimulating in terms of the main characters’ motivations. Oh crap, I sound like an old film reviewing fuddy duddy…yike!

Overall I would recommend The Hole for anyone who loves Thora Birch or Keira Knightley, and for anyone who likes a degree of suspense, controlled gore, and watching teenagers locked underground for several days. If you are looking for your next Exorcist or Blair Witch Project, this ain’t it kids.

Value: 6/10
You can find this DVD online for around 13 bucks which is acceptable. Without any real extras it should be in the $10 bin. It’s a good watch on a Friday or Saturday night, but I’m not sure it’s worthy of being in your DVD collection. It is definitely a great rental along with some other creep fest flicks like The Ring, The Howling, and The Tingler, did I say the Tingler oh Missus !

Overall Score 6/10