Kids Toy with their Hole
"The Hole" is a perfect movie if you are 15 or 16, it has horror, humour, a good looking cast and a playful tone which means for every moment of horror there is a moment of relief. But if you are not 15 or 16 the appeal is a lot less as not only will it feel familiar, but weaknesses in the story and characters start to show themselves. But then I guess that director Joe Dante set out with a plan to make a horror movie for a certain age group and as such you have to say he succeeded.
After moving to yet another new home Dane (Chris Massoglia) is getting tired of all the shifting around and having to look after younger brother Lucas (Nathan Gamble - Marley & Me) whilst his mum Susan (Teri Polo) goes to work. But at least there is one positive to their new home, the next door neighbour Julie (Haley Bennett - Music & Lyrics) is cute and friendly. Whilst messing about in the basement they stumble across a heavily padlocked trap door which once they open appears to cover a never ending hole although they soon begin to believe that maybe something sinister lives down the hole and they've now let it out.
So as I said "The Hole" seems to be a horror movie made for a specific age group in mind, you could almost say that it is an introduction to horror for mid teens as it has a mix of humour and horror. As such what we have is a simple and frankly unoriginal idea of a hole in a basement which appears to be the gateway to something evil and a trio of young people whose curiosity gets the better of them. The evil which comes out of the hole ranges from a creepy little girl with tears of blood to a macabre clown toy which plagues Lucas. But in between these moments of horror there is humour, be it the eccentric old man who use to live in the home to the general amusement of them trying to find out what is in the hole, lowering a South Park doll down into it.
Technically "The Hole" works because of this mix of humour and horror when you think about it as a movie aimed at a certain age group. But for anyone else it is a movie with problems as the various aspects from an abandoned theme park to the scary little girl end up very familiar. Familiarity is not the only problem as the characters also present issues in the simple fact that they may look good but are not instantly likeable. It's something which isn't going to bother teens because they look good but for adults it makes them hard to champion. Having said that the trio of Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett and Nathan Gamble play their parts well with fun cameos from Bruce Dern and Dick Miller.
What this all boils down to is that "The Hole" could be a great little horror movie if you are 15 or 16 as it has a nice mix of horror and humour with an appealing cast. But for anyone older it has a lot less appeal thanks to its familiar elements and characters that are not instantly likeable.