The Hole (2001)
UK / English
"Desperate To Get In. Dying To Get Out. "Four teenagers at a British private school secretly uncover and explore the depths of a sealed underground hole created decades ago as a possible bomb shelter.
Here's a typical example of a film that was much hyped here in the UK
leading up to it's cinematic release. What most UK cinema patrons saw during
trailers was a clever and equally cunning montage of shots which helped to
conjure up images of fear, anxiety, claustrophobia, and sheer terror,
amongst other things.
It just seems that 'The Hole' is riddled with flaws. Technically, on face
value, it seems so promising - a bunch of private school 'oiks' decide to
spend a short amount of time shacked up in subterranean cellar-room to party
and binge all in the name of science (- it was suggested by one of their
fellow students who wants to use this as an opportunity to monitor them and
comment on how teenagers interact).
Let's cut to the chase...the acting is alarmingly bad; truly second-rate.
All the characters are coupled with these horrible faux English accents (bar
one actor who has the fake American accent) - clean cut but full of
colloquialisms. Why have the lead (- Thora Birch) try and attempt an English
accent; she falls flat on her face. In trying to fit the guise of a
well-to-do English student she appears false, wooden, and quite frankly,
plain annoying. Disappointing indeed. Do directors honestly think that
teenagers really act in such a way?
It's not fair to level the films failure at something as trivial as bad
accents but while, on paper, the plot is great, Nick Hamm simply fails to
achieve the success that the novel does. It's extremely hard to feel any
remorse whatsoever for each character as they die. The element of loneliness
and claustrophobia seem to be moved to one side thus resulting in the fact
that there never seems to be that much alarm, although Birch and co's
sub-par acting would like the audience to think so.
On the positive side, the 'hole' itself is a very nice inclusion; it's dark,
brooding, ominous, damp, almost putrid. And this is what becomes so
annoying; visually 'The Hole' could succeed surprisingly well as a
horror/thriller but every other contributing factor just doesn't pull tight
together. The suspense and 'whodunit' element rouse very little interest and
to be honest, it was a relief to see the film finally end.
I was not expecting a teen slasher flick when I went to see 'The Hole' but I
certainly was expecting a lot more than what was provided. Yes, it is nice
to see more English horror films getting the 'big-screen treatment' but if
'The Hole' is one of the best that we have to offer we may as well quit
while we are behind.
To recap: terrible acting (- especially on Ms. Birch's behalf), annoying
'middle-class' teen characterisation (- it tended to get under my skin),
unstimulating plot (- it runs more like an extended TV thriller than
anything else), thin horror/suspense, and a weak ending. ON the plus side
there are some promising ideas and notions; it's not all doom and gloom.
Read the novel first...but try to avoid the film - it really is quite dire.
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