Friday, February 08, 2013

Joe Dante's 3-D thriller "The Hole", and what lies beneath

Joe Dante’s “The Hole” (originally in 3D) sounds a bit like a dream, the sort of story a middle schooler might write for English class. 
In a rural Pennsylvania town, perhaps in the Laurel Highlands and probably around shale fracking country (and that is significant), an enterprising teenager Dane (Minnesota-born Chris Massoglia, 16 when the film was shot) and his younger brother Lucas (Nathan Gamble) stumble on a padlocked cellar in their basement, hidden for years by rugs, furniture and hoarded junk.  When the kids, an neighboring teen Julie (Haley Bennett)  open it and investigate, the “darkness” is unleashed into the home.  This comprises all kinds of bizarre puppets and clowns, at least for Lucas.  In time, we learn that the manifestation of “the darkness” is specific to the beholder.

Eventually, Dane “falls” into the Hole, and winds up in an artificial world that anticipates “Inception”.  Surprisingly, we learn that his own demon was earlier physical cowardice and ability to protect his brother , even though there has been no hint of such earlier. Dane always seems in command of all challenges and initiations now.  It seems particularly "evil" to attack someone to make someone else prove that he can "protect" the potential victim. He and his brother are being raised by a single mom and are transplants from the city, but that aspect is downplayed.  

At the end, the moviegoer is invited to question his own crawl space.

The official site (Bold Films and Big Air Studios)  is here.The film was shot in LA, Vancouver and apparently Pennsylvania.  
Don’t confuse with the Disney film “Holes” (2003), by Andrew Davis, introducing Shia LaBeouf.   

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