1 item from 2001
Although "The Hole" might spark easily made comparisons with "The Blair Witch Project" -- terrified teens stalked by an evil presence -- it is actually a shrewdly made chiller that has a good deal to offer. With the right handling, this film could make a nice hit in that hefty marketplace for "teens in peril" movies.
While the film is a U.K.-French production set firmly in rural England, the fact that the key young leads, Thora Birch and Desmond Harrington, are Americans tips us off that this is a film made for the international marketplace.
The film is structured in the form of a series of flashbacks, which gradually reveal more and more about the events, cleverly mixing true memories with alternate variations. The film opens impressively with the shocked, frightened Liz (Birch) wandering into a village where, in a series of flashbacks, she explains to psychologist Philipa Horwood (the always fine Embeth Davidtz) what has happened.
It seems she and fellow pupils from an English public school had gotten out of a school trip by hiding out in an old World War II bunker. Liz was keen to go into the hole with American hunk Mike (Harrington) because she had the hots for him, while fellow students Geoff and Frankie engage in a little quality time together.
Liz initially blames much of what happened to them in the hole on another student, Martin (Daniel Brocklebank), who she says was jealous of her feelings for Mike. But as the police interrogation of her and Martin continues, more and more is revealed of the actual events in the bunker. Without giving too much of the plot away, it becomes clear that someone is controlling the events in the bunker. As the bodies start to fall, fear and paranoia increase.
"Hole" is impressively directed by Nick Hamm (whose previous film was the romantic comedy "Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence"). He makes great use of the frightening location of a dark, shadowy bunker, though his work is much assisted by a fine, intelligent script from Ben Court and Caroline Ip, who give depth and variation to their characters. The hole is nicely designed by Eve Stewart, and, as shot by cinematographer Denis Crossan, it makes for a fine twist on the old-dark-house format.
Birch is asked to offer different levels to her character as the truth behind what happened is gradually revealed, and she does an excellent job of presenting a character who lurches between shy and mousy to cunning and sociopathic. The rest of the young cast is impressive, especially Brocklebank as Martin.
"Hole" is a fine, tense piece of chilling entertainment that deserves to reach an audience.
Pathe Pictures presents in association with the Film Council and Le Studio Canal Plus
Cowboy Films/Granada Film Prods. in association with Cowboy Pictures
Director: Nick Hamm
Screenwriters: Ben Court, Caroline Ip
Based on the novel by: Guy Burt
Executive producers: Francois Ivernel, Andrea Calderwood
Director of photography: Denis Crossan
Editor: Niven Howie
Production designer: Eve Stewart
Music: Clint Mansell
Costume designer: Verity Hawkes
Liz Dunn: : hora Birch
Mike Steel: Desmond Harrington
Martin Taylor: Daniel Brocklebank
Geoff: Laurence Fox
Frankie Smith: Keira Knightley
Dr. Philipa Horwood: Embeth Davidtz
DCS Tom Howard: Steven Waddington
Running time -- 102 minutes
No MPAA rating
1 item from 2001
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