The Hole (2001), co-starring Thora Birch, Kiera Knightley and Desmond Harrington before they were even blips on the Hollywood scene, follows four spoiled kids attending a British private school. Rather than go on the school field trip, they decide to pursue their own ultimate holiday by — oddly enough — locking themselves (accidentally) inside a war bunker beneath their school. What follows next defies all logic and reasoning.
Of the four, only one emerges from the bunker alive, and that’s as far as I will go with the spoilers. You can watch the following trailer for a preview of what to expect:
The Hole is listed as horror/psychological, but I did not find anything horrific about it. It will, however, take you on a roller coaster ride, blowing your mind at every turn. I was particularly impressed at the realism of the film. The characters were how I imagined stuck-up British private school brats would be, and the bunker was how I imagined one to be.
The casting was phenomenal. Thora Birch transitioned beautifully from her role in Oscar-winning American Beauty. Her character, Liz Dunn, is complex but is nevertheless was portrayed in a believable manner. With the exception of Dr. Philippa Harwood (played by Embeth Davidtz), the other characters remained relative unknowns, but were all acted convincingly.
As enjoyable as it is, The Hole has flaws, most notable of which is the frequent transition from the past to the present to tell the story. It gets confusing at times, making it easy to miss things if you so much as get distracted.
Considering how good the movie is, it’s a shame that it was only released in UK cinemas and distributed in the U.S. some 2 years later, and even then straight to DVD. It could have been a relative box office success had it had the backing of Hollywood.
The Hole is a well-shot, well-acted film worthwhile for anyone that likes plot twists, suspense and just downright likes being mind-blown. If anything, it is more of a crime thriller / mystery piece than it is horror, but you will enjoy it regardless. Check it out and let us know what you thought about it.
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