The Hole (2001)
Director: Nick Hamm
Four teenagers at a private British school secretly seal themselves into the depths of an underground hole (an old bomb shelter) to party hard. They eventually get locked down there and 18 days later, only one of them (Birch) comes out. It’s up to psychologist Dr. Horwood (Davidtz) to figure out what happened.
The trailer for "The Hole" would have you believe that it’s just another hip teen slasher flick, but don’t let that fool you. It’s as far from "I Know What You Did Last Summer" as can be, no dude with a hook in this house. Told through flashbacks, "The Hole" is an intense British thriller. It’s a captivating, somber film that borrows some themes from “Lords Of The Flies” but mostly winds up being about love, how far some people are willing to go to attain it and the birth of evil in a human heart.
"The Hole" totally sucked me in with its storyline and its delivery. The movie puts us in Dr. Horwood’s shoes so we witness the story unravel the way that is told by Liz (Birch). Without giving too much away, let's just say that the film isn’t totally honest with us and things aren’t always what they seem. But the more that the movie moves forward, the more the mask crumbles, until the ugly truth about what happened in the hole is finally revealed. The film’s back and forth between the present and the past or the film’s tendency to lie to the audience might turn off some viewers but it kept my pointy ass on my toes. I was totally engaged in the events that were taking place before my eyes.
On a visual standpoint, the director makes good use of the film’s somber setting and fills it with an incredible sense of dread. He also manages to make one specific scene in the film very erotic. Considering where that sex scene takes place, that’s quite a feat. I also appreciated the film’s guts; this puppy doesn’t hold back. It shocked me a few times with the human ugliness which it showcased and it also took me by surprise with its moments of violence. Gore is so much more effective in a film when you don’t see it coming. I didn’t see it coming here.
The film does have some minor flaws though. Its weakest aspect is definitely some of its main characters. Apart from Liz (Birch), I didn’t find the other kids as interesting as they should’ve been. More about them would have made an already powerful film hit even harder. On the flipside, it helped a lot that the actors playing the less developed teens were very charismatic and pleasant to the eye. Another flaw would have to be one particular plot hole that bothered me. Let's just say that a certain murder takes place very close to a character’s home and I assumed that it would make her/him a suspect. The film never addresses that but to be fair, that event surfaced near the end of the film and who knows what happened after the credits rolled.
Overall, "The Hole" is a dark, ambitious film which concentrates on the scariest evil of them all: human evil. It explores that theme in a realistic way where nothing is black and white. I was pleasantly surprised by this film’s knack at playing with the audience’s expectations, its dark tone, its intelligence, and its gripping ending that slapped a devilish smile on my face. Want to come in "The Hole" with me?
A guy gets his head bashed in; a hunk of metal crushes another and one person pukes heavily. We also get lots of maggots and lots of splashes of blood.
Thora Birch (Liz) gives a multi-layered performance and handles her British accent very well. She gives an impressive showing. Desmond Harrington (Mike) gives a sympathetic turn as the American object of desire and hits all the right emotional notes. Daniel Brocklebanc (Martin) is very intense as the potential psycho geek. Laurence Fox (Geoff) is the least interesting character, but he handles his part well. Keira Knightley’s (Frankie) incredible beauty somewhat overshadows her acting talent but when it came down to the nitty-gritty, she came through. Embeth Davidtz (Dr. Horwood) gives a low-key and very focused performance. Just goes to show how important good material is for an actor. I thought she was weak in "13 Ghosts".
T & A
Keira Knightley (Frankie) shows us her luscious breasts. Laurence Fox (Geoff) shows off his butt and yes, his Laurence Junior. The ladies get a couple more background guys showing their penis' and Thora Birch’s melons look great in that top, they’re huge!
Nick Hamm showcases a sure hand and a great eye throughout this film. He fills the flick with an eerie style and isn’t afraid to show the ugliness at hand. Couple that with stylish shots, neat camera effects and a penchant towards dark atmosphere and you get a film that not only looks fantastic, but also hits you where it hurts.
The dark, subtle techno score served the film very well. I think I’ll get the soundtrack.
I didn’t see “The Hole” coming. I was expecting another ho-hum “hip” horror flick. I was wrong. This film is “hip” but in an ugly, no-holds-barred way. If you’re in the mood for a different kind of teen flick, one that will take you aback with its choices, its depth and one which is wrapped in a blanket of dark atmosphere...then "The Hole" might be your cup of blood. Sometimes the scariest thing can be the human heart and the things we’d do for love.
The film will be released in the U.S. in 2002. It will be available on tape and DVD in the UK on October 29, 2001.