Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Hole

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Year:2009
Country of origin:USA
Director:Joe Dante
Genre:There's something in the basement.....
Starring:Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Nathan Gamble, Teri Polo
Rating:4/5
IMDB link:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1085779/
Tagline:What Are You So Afraid Of?
Favourite line:"Come on. You can stare at her from outside."

I like Joe Dante.
I tend to like his movies.
I definitely like his ethos, his cinematic knowledge and, with his latest offering, I like the fact he has chosen to scare the living piss out of very young children.

The plot:
A single mother and her two sons are forced to move house yet again, the family apparently fleeing from something, though what is not made clear, at least not at first.
Brothers Nathan and Dane have a troubled relationship, the younger Nathan annoyed by his older brother's reluctance to play with him. They argue and bicker continually, right up until the moment they discover a sinister hole in the basement of their new house, hidden beneath a trapdoor locked with multiple padlocks. Once open, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary hole; it appears to be bottomless and, when no-one is looking, things crawl from its depths.

Dante is something of a horror aficionado, and here he delivers a proper horror movie, albeit toned down to allow for a 'family friendly' rating, but that doesn't stop it being creepy as hell:
The little girl, twitching as she walks, blood running from her eyes; the brute of a man, face in constant shadow, whose boots leave muddy impressions wherever he treads; the hole itself, ensconced in a proper horror movie basement.
Being a Dante movie, there are several nods to other genre films. I spotted Poltergeist (the car), The Wicker Man (an audio reference when The Man whistles), Ringu (the twitchy girl), Saw (the clown thing), House By the Cemetery (something is in the basement) and The Funhouse (the fair ground) as well as more than a little classic era Doctor Who (I'm thinking The Mind Robber and The Celestial Toymaker, kids).
Accomplished, intelligent and provocative, if only for the fact the rating it got was probably a little on the lenient side, this is a real hark back to some proper, old fashioned horror movie making and, I have to say, I enjoyed it quite a lot.

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