The Hole in the Ground (2019) Poster

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6/10
Creepy and effective, if somewhat a bit lacking
KawaiiKiwi18 February 2019
Movies involving evil or mean children often manage to creep us out the most for some reason. The Hole in the Ground is no exception. It's a small Irish production with only a few characters, but it manages to pull off a very chilling atmosphere of dread, after a mother and her son moves into their new house in a deserted area on the edge of a large dense forest. The movie really manages to make you feel their sense of loneliness as the mother stumbles upon a mysterious huge hole in the middle of the forest behind their house. Her boy begins to acts strange after he runs away one night in the forest, and she starts questioning his identity and also, her sanity. The actress playing the mother is very good at displaying her mixed emotions and the boy really conveys a feeling of unpleasantness. This coupled with the creepy atmosphere really pulls you in. It's more of a drama-psychological horror and not everyone will appreciate the slow and subtle tone of the movie, but if you enjoyed smart horror like Under the Shadow and Goodnight Mommy, then I think you will like this. It's not quite as good and it unfortunately lacks a little bit of explanation at the end, but sometimes I think it's okay for movie to leave a bit up to the viewers to figure out by themselves. I just wish it ran maybe 10 minutes longer to better develop the events leading to the conclusion.
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5/10
Very subtle glimpse into mental illness
London4563 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
On the surface this film comes across as another semi-grade horror flick without merit. The characters are under-developed and the large number of loose ends that are never explained enforces the view that the director/screen writer couldn't be bothered to fill in the gaps.

What is interesting is that this seems to be intentional. There is a very well hidden parallel story that runs alongside the one which is presented to viewers. We see the story from the perspective of the protagonist Sarah O'Neill, who isolates herself and her son in a remote house near the woods. Her delusions gradually increase as the film progresses, and the viewer is dragged in to her fantasy world when there is no external context to help separate fact from illusion. The director plays upon uncertainty to construct the supernatural thread. However he also provides subtle hints that what you sometimes see are hallucinations (eg: the arm-wrestling scene).

Capgras delusion is the real focus of this film. Capgras is the condition in which a person holds the delusional belief that a close family member has been replaced by an imposter. The condition can be caused by trauma to the head (note the many references to Sarah's unexplained scar) and can also accompany other psychological conditions such as schizophrenia and psychosis. The final part of the film is clearly a psychotic event experienced by Sarah.

The use of mirrors within the film is another nod to Capgras. The film eludes to the fact that mirrors unmask the true nature of the person. Capgras sufferers can sometimes doubt their own identity after seeing themselves within a large mirror, although smaller mirrors may not produce the same effect. One type of therapy involves using many mirrors of different sizes to help the sufferer overcome the delusion.
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6/10
Folk tales called them Changelings
MajidMsa16 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
A movie about changelings. Finally a horror movie about Faeries. Faeries lore is scary as hell. The young actor is brilliant. Very talented. It's more tense than jumpy. Plenty of unnerving moments though, well worth a watch. Great cinematography and atmospheric music. The kind of story that could happen in any country. if the faeries replace your child with an imposter, you just beat the imposter until your sweet well behaved real child returns.
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6/10
Not extraordinary, but better than mainstream mediocre horror
edgalarza16 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
My expectations were a little high when I noticed it was an A24 Studio film. They have made quite a few good horror films. This one wasn't extraordinary like Mother!, Hereditary or The Witch, but it wasn't a mediocre film. It did not give up its secrets until 3/4th into the movie. But once I saw the creature, the jig was up and I figured it out. I think its a 6/10. It does build up tension and suspense before the creature makes its appearance which is better than most of the jump scare burden mediocrity found with Hollywood films.
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7/10
Not a film critic
thealam9 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not gonna pretend I'm a film web reviewer or something like that I just enjoy horror movies, this one is more of a psychological thriller with some horro elements but is actually very well executed. Yes, some people may find it slow if you like jump scares every 5 minutes it's enjoyable for the performances and photography. It doesn't have an open ending as everyone says it explains everything but I do agree I would have liked more explanation about the hike and what lies beneth as that is left out. An overall seven with stron performance, escenery but lacks some explanation to the story.
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7/10
Spooky little Irish horror gem.
Andrew_Wiper9 February 2019
A creepy little Irish horror movie this one was. If you like the A24 horror movies, especially the one 'It Comes at Night', it's safe to say you will enjoy 'The Hole in the Ground'. Good performances and very well done acting by the young man who plays the son. The movie definitely manages to create a nice eerie atmosphere to go with the setting and there are a few scenes in this that gave me a good fright. Try and seek this one out and watch it if you are in the mood for suspenseful slow burn horror. 7.5/10
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6/10
Invasion of the Babadook Snatchers
bogeyman7867 March 2019
A friend recommended this movie. He said it had a nice atmosphere and was a cross between The Babadook and Invasion of the Body Snatchers-sounds about right after watching it.

I expected it to be a lot scarier though. The arm wrestling scene is still difficult to erase. Good acting from the young boy. Overall a good quirky movie out of Ireland
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5/10
Could have been better, an interesting bore.
hampersnow-289057 February 2019
This movie had many positive elements, great cinematography, fine acting , spooky atmosphere and the horror movie soundtrack . Unfortunately it came completely undone by being too slow, not very exciting or scary and didn't really have much of a story. Everything in this movie seemed to have been taken from some other better horror movie. While Seana Kerslake is very convincing in the lead role, so much of the movie is just close-ups of her face. It doesn't help that at times when in real life there would be dialogue between characters, there isn't any here. Scenes with not much happening go on too long. Horror films need more then just atmosphere and I'm sick of the phrase "slow burn" to describe films that are in fact just " slow and boring ".
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2/10
Boring with no character development.
derekshannon24 February 2019
I was really looking forward to this movie and really wanted to enjoy it after a great looking trailer. Unfortunately that's where the greatness stopped. I thought the lead actress had the same expression on her face the entire way through the film - gormless. The first 45 minutes before any horror started instead of building character and developing the relationship between the mother and son the focus seemed very aimless as if just killing time until something happens. There were serious plot holes later on that really lost me with a character going into a sinkhole and magically getting out no problem with no explanation as to how that character could possibly get out of a sinkhole hundreds of feet below. What could have been a great ambiguous ending then was ruined by a last minute bad decision. A very hyped and poor horror film and too many aspects taken out of recent Irish horror films. Way too similar to 'The Hallow' and 'Beyond The Woods' and much older horror films like 'The Changeling.' A bad mishmash of better horror films. Very weak lead character with nothing interesting about the performance to hook you in or even begin to care about the character.
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4/10
Illogical behaviours
emirfithri-1251720 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
What spoils a horror movie with a great plots is just one - illogical behaviours by the actors as normal human beings. For example, if you hear strange noises at night and you want to check it out, you DO NOT go down in the dark and tip toeing around. You'd be turning on all lights available! And, also you noticed a big damn hole in the middle of the forest? What do you do? Report it to the authorities, talk and ask the local folks. Not keep it to yourself as if you just found a pot of gold. And you figured out your son is actually a shapeshifter monster who has superstrength, when he is under the influence of drug, TIE HIM UP quickly.

All these illogical behaviours spoilt the fun in the movie. Plus there's no nude bath scenes which is a must for all horror movies.
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8/10
Slow but good
chameleonaram11 February 2019
So emotional and so beautifully made. I really loved every second of it. It makes you wonder... The music was very well chosen as are the actors. You can see, almost feel what effort was made to make this movie. Hope to see more like this in the future.
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9/10
Irish Horror at it Best
btec-5983811 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The Hole in the Ground directed by Lee Cronin is a frighteningly spooky movie that will play on your mind, Sarah O'Neill (Seána Kerslake) is retreating from a broken relationship to a county home to start a fresh life with her son Chris (James Quinn Markey), after an argument with his Mother Chris runs off into the eerie forest, shortly after things start taking a turn for the worse & Chris starts behaving very differently, after a chilling encounter (so chilling that it's enough to freeze your blood) with Noreen Brady (Kati Outinen) and her words of "Its Not Your Boy" playing heavily on Sarahs mind that she notices that all is not right with Chris. After taking Sundance Film Festival by Storm this spiralling nightmare of paranoia & mistrust is probably going to be one of the scariest movies you will see this year, The Hole in the Ground hits Irish Cinemas on March 1st.
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7/10
A Surprise In The Woods
omendata18 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I always try and review a film based on the budget as well as other factors and this film is well above average for a low budget horror film and beats most of the derivative horror that has come out this year!

I love the quadcopter photography; it was lush and full of colour and very well shot and I do like Ireland our sister country and has much in common with our culture and landscapes so I guess I am slightly biased. In particular the "Hole In The Forest" was particularly well CGI'ed and just the thought of it gives you shivers down your spine; a menacing, hidden evil lurking in the woods ready to suck you down into its stygian depths - Not something you see every day in Scotland or Ireland and perfectly done from our Irish brothers and sisters.

Of course the director plays a clever game mixing in the motherhood fear of losing a child but i detected a subtext of mental illness and the use of the mirrors confimed that and especially in the final scene with the long mirror lying on the chair as the camera doubted the main protagonists sanity - very well done on multiple fear levels.

The film actually reminds me of the superb Kevin Costner horror "The New Daughter" mixed with a smidgin of "The Descent", "The Hallow" and a few others but is good enough to stand on its own!
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7/10
A very good film but that could have been great!
chamberlainzoe14 July 2019
It was really good. The acting was extraordinary, the script was great and so was the directing and the photography.

It kept me interested but didn't have many scare jumps if that's what you're looking for. Also, it's nothing we haven't seen before but I think it has a good element of surprise towards the end. I felt like something was missing though, an extra something so that this became a real hit with me as a horror lover. Hence my 7. But it is good and I recommend it very much!
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10/10
A horror gem
johnsherman11 February 2019
I never leave reviews rarely, but I thought this movie deserved a great review. I am a huge fan of horror movies, and lately it's hard to find a good one. I'm not one for horror movies with blood and guts and endless, pointless killing. I love psychological horror movies, like this one! If 2019 continues to release movies like this one , it's going to be a stellar year for the horror genre :)
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5/10
Slow, slow, slow
scumpty-054503 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The good Atmospheric, nice cinematography, fairly good acting from Mum and son. The bad So SLOW! Also, there's a BLOODY GREAT HOLE in the woods backing onto their garden and it never gets mentioned by a single person!! Mum never questions it, nobody explains it or warns her of danger. You'd think an estate agent...oh never mind. Cloned son tries to kill her and buries her head, somehow she hasn't suffocated and pulls her head out of the earth after a good couple of minutes with her head face down in the earth. The unbearable I thought I was going to have a panic attack when Mum goes down the hole and has to fight her way along a tight tunnel on her belly. No air!! #claustrophobia The unbelievable But then she somehow manages to drag original son back along the same teeny tunnel, fighting off her own doppelganger along the way, AND THEN magically un sink herself and him and get back to their house, which she then sets alight. Seemingly she's remembered, in all the horror, to set up house insurance as next time we see them they're in a smartish apartment. Oh, and mirrors.
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2/10
Hold your horses
otgutes31 January 2019
I saw this film yesterday at Sundance. I went in knowing only that it was supposed to be a psychological thriller/horror film. In my opinion it is marginally at best both.

While there are some genuinely shocking moments and strange events they seem done completely to bulk up the long drawn out scenes where not much is happening.

My biggest complaint is there are numerous questions unanswered about how, who, why and what happened. Characters seem to teleport and others are of importance and never explained or seen again.

I'm not going to give any spoilers but to me it was a plodding movie with a quick wrap it all up ending that's not satisfactory at all.
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3/10
very disappointing
natcalgary13 February 2019
I usually love these types of movies but I found this was way too slow and didn't keep my interest, Too many unexplained things and pointless scenes. too bad

3.3
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8/10
Amazing job
jivond7 February 2019
I don't usually leave reviews but I felt I had to, as a photographer and cinematographer, I wanted to applaud everyone for this film. Several of the scenes and the way they were framed left me breathless, along with the acting... I had no choice but to leave 8 stars, thank you!
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5/10
Slow
markhappyboy6 February 2019
There's nothing really wrong with this movie, fine performances from the cast, soundtrack ok and some nice cinematography. The problem for me was I got bored,adding up the best moments amounted to about 15 minutes of movie and them moments are really good some real cool imagery, I normally enjoy slow Burners but in this case I was just bored.Shame.
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6/10
Weak 3 // Creepy, but thematically underdeveloped
ccamp892 March 2019
When A24 releases a new horror film, I take notice. It's no secret that the young studio has taken the world of cinema by storm over the past few years, steadily building a library of vital, creative, and challenging films. They have effectively positioned themselves as the standard-bearers for art house in the mainstream, granting wide exposure to auteur filmmakers who would otherwise have serious difficulty finding distribution for their work in the current climate.

A24's contribution to modern horror has been particularly noteworthy. For my money, they've released all three of the decade's best horror films: Under the Skin, The Witch, and Hereditary, all three masterpieces, the latter two directorial debuts. The studio has a clear passion for intelligent, substantive horror that avoids the cheap and shallow scares routinely delivered by the major studios.

The Hole in the Ground, too, is a directorial debut. But unlike the aforementioned films, it feels like one. That's not necessarily to its detriment, as the film has that infectious creative energy of a first-timer experimenting with his/her craft. It also certainly carries some of A24's hallmarks as a small, independent, character-focused work with striking visuals, touches of surrealism, and an art-house sensibility.

The problem is the film feels underdeveloped. Although it uses the cinematic language of the art house, it delivers something far more in line with what you'd expect from the mainstream arena: a series of scare setpieces (some of which are admittedly quite effective) strung together upon a premise that serves as nothing more than a foundation on which to build those scares.

The setup is fairly promising: a mother flees an ambiguously troubled past with her young son, settling in a new town and hoping for a fresh start. Things grow sinister as she discovers an ominous sinkhole in the woods adjacent to her new home which seems somehow to have influenced her son's behavior.

It's a premise rife with symbolic potential. There are allusions to domestic violence, touches of mental illness, and perhaps a subtle suggestion as to how a battered woman's view of her son may blur with her image of his father, her abuser. But that's just it - allusions, touches, and suggestions. These themes are set up, hinted at, but never truly explored nor enriched.

Take Thomasin of The Witch and Annie of Hereditary, both full-bodied protagonists with excellent arcs, supported by films that fully flesh out the underlying themes of their respective stories. Sarah, on the other hand, feels like a blank slate for much of the film - a vessel utilized to deliver scares to the audience rather than a true character. And rather than developing the ideas and symbolic potential of the setup, the film opts instead to spend its time doling out relatively routine and surface-level scare tropes.

Despite my misgivings, the film managed to be mildly enjoyable simply on the strength of its setup, visuals, and few effectively unsettling moments. Though it doesn't reach even close to the heights of the studio's best horror offerings, it has enough merit to justify a viewing from the avid fan looking for a creepy 90-minute diversion. Just calibrate your expectations accordingly.

Weak 3/5
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3/10
I agree with everyone else but deserves a lower rating because of it
kirbie-344819 February 2019
Like everyone already said everything is great except for the actual plot, super slow to the point of 'why am I still watching this?'
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10/10
Omg i am not a horror fan but loved it
elanad_b13 February 2019
I dont care about the haters but this film had everything. I loved the depth of characters and their relationship, the sound effects, and the refreshing side of Irish genre
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2/10
Grab a pillow and a blanket. Zzzzzzzz
karmalita-8064823 February 2019
I very much looked forward to this based on ratings I had seen. I fell asleep the 1st time I tried. So I tried again thinking I was just too tired. I tried again. Nope, this movie is just BORING. Idk who gave it the ratings, and all the awards it was up for, nor WHY? Imo, one of the MOST boring movies I have EVER seen!
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1/10
A complete waste
lc-820177 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The only thing that was building up to be scary was when she peeked through her son's bedroom keyhole to see he had grabbed the crawling spider and he rushed back to his bed to eat the spider. The hole in the ground never got explained at all so it was like wtf is the point of it? I did not understand the ending at all. She ended up going to the hole that she thought her son went to...got sucked in the hole and then she saw herself after she rescued her real son that was inside the hole. Well what happened when she saw the other alien like figure that turned into her? She grabbed her and then it cut to another screen. The last 10 minutes of the movie was confusing. It seems like it could have been good but there were a lot of loose ends that did not make sense. I wanted to like it but it ended on a flat note for me.
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