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Susan and her sons Dane and Lucas Thompson move from Brooklyn to Bensonville, in the countryside. Dane is upset with the constant changes of address and the family has lived in many cities. Lucas and Dane befriend their next door neighbor, the gorgeous Julie and the brothers find a bottomless hole in the basement of their house locked with several padlocks. They take the locks off and soon they are haunted by their darkest fears. Further, they believe that the hole might be a gateway to hell. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fear and nostalgia don't often go hand in hand, but the two were riding high in my mind after the screening of The Hole. Coulrophobia, or a fear of clowns, seems to be quite a common phobia amongst my peers and for 99% of us it can be traced back to a certain television show. The Sky One adaptation of Stephen King's It, which aired in 1990. It's main antagonist, a clown named Pennywise, gave me my first real post-horror-film sleepless night. Up to that point the only fear-inducing villains I had been exposed to were Darth Vader and the Wicked Witch of the West. But a samurai robot and a middle-aged woman in green make-up didn't seem quite so scary after watching the terrifying killer clown. Echoes of Pennywise are evident in the ghoulish Jester doll of The Hole. The fact that Joe Dante brings us a family film that manages to instill some levels of discomfort and even fear in adults reminds us why he was such a big name in the 80's. With The Hole, the man behind Gremlins and The 'Burbs goe's back to what he does best; frightening yet family friendly. And he almost succeeds in giving us another great kids film. Almost.
Featuring the aforementioned Jester doll, the corpse of a young girl and some Beetlejuice like nightmare sequences, there are a lot of horror elements of the film to like. These elements are executed well and the use of some traditional stop-motion special effects gave the film an endearing charm. However all of this just served to highlight how awful the 3D was. The digital effect only served to ruin what would otherwise have been a great thowback-to-the-80's look. I ended up watching the second half of The Hole with my Roy Orbison style specs removed.
In my experience, and a lot of people I've discussed it with, the novelty of 3D lasts for roughly the first ten minutes of a film. Afterwards it simply distracts from whats going on and tends to blur any action above a certain speed. It adds nothing to the vast majority of the films released in the format and ultimately becomes headache inducing. Let's hope it's just a Smell-O-Vision style fad that fades away sooner rather than later.
The storyline of The Hole is in no way original and the dialogue is ridiculously bad at times, but on the whole it had a certain charisma about it. Had this been released when I was between eight and twelve years of age it may have been a favourite of mine, along with Ghostbusters and two of Dante's other works Innerspace and Gremlins. It pushes the boundaries of whats acceptable in a film rated 12A, is nicely stylised and has genuinely frightening moments. For a certain age group in years to come, The Hole will evoke great memories of how much fun the cinema can be. If they happen to see a 2D version, all the better.
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