Tuesday, September 4, 2012

THE HOLE (2009) movie review

Hole, The (2009) (1st viewing) d. Dante, Joe

After being relocated from NYC to a sleepy suburban burg by struggling single mom Teri Polo, sullen teenager Chris Massoglia and pesky little brother Lucas Gamble chance upon a padlocked trapdoor in their new basement, under which lies a mysterious bottomless abyss. Unfortunately, their discovery serves as the uncorking of an evil genie’s bottle, with their individual greatest fears appearing in shadowy but all-too-corporeal form around them. Alongside plucky (and cute) neighbor Haley Bennett and Bruce Dern (in full-on crusty codger mode), they endeavor to vanquish the dark forces, all in superb poke-yer-eye-out/whoa-I’m-falling 3D.

Vacancy screenwriter Mark L. Smith’s sharp script skillfully captures the frustrations of uprooted youth as well as the intangibilities of waking nightmares, and Dante’s splendid onscreen ensemble and f/x teams weave a terrific chill-thrilling spell. In a day and age where solid offerings for juvenile horror fans are a woefully rare commodity, it only makes the current distribution hell that has befallen Gremlins director Dante’s latest effort all the more tragic and frustrating. Seriously, Spielberg, get in there and throw your old pal a Dreamworks release bone, wouldja?

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