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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Review: The Hole in the Ground

Director: Lee Cronin
Screenplay: Lee Cronin y Stephen Shields
Year: 2019

Just like in movies I have already reviewed that have been released this year like “The Golem”, “The Hole in the Ground” based its plot on local folklore. In this case, we travel to Ireland, where there exists the legend of a creature that kidnaps kids and takes its form. Children in horror movies are terrifying as they are, and on top of that, if you add that their physique could be being used by a monster, this is the perfect combination to generate nightmares.

In “The Hole in the Ground” Sarah and her son Chris move into a new home in a country area of Ireland close to a forest that hides a huge sinkhole. One night Chris disappears, and when he reappears, he seems to be unharmed and unchanged. But as time passes, his behavior becomes increasingly disturbing and Sarah starts fearing that the boy that returned to her is not her son.

The main topic of this movie has little to do with its title. “The Hole in the Ground” bases its story in the feeling where some event or time changes a person so much that physically they look the same, but their personality is almost unrecognizable. This story starts when Sarah takes her son Chris to live in a rural area of Ireland after escaping an abusive relationship. This is indicative that both of them could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, especially Sarah that now is alone in a new place taking care of his son. The movie is full of metaphors concerning the relationship between mother and son and how it gets affected, as well as the mental health decay as the events unfold.

Although the main topic is the mother-child relationship after they start a new life, it is still a horror movie. The director and writer Lee Cronin try to show a story based on Irish folklore, but he fails in making it really horrific. Cronin uses the technique of having a child as the conductor of horror, which has worked for other movies, like in the classic “The Omen”, but it fails to deliver. The flaws of this movie come from using too many horror clichés to make jump scares, which makes it too predictable. The acting of the mother and child duo, interpreted by Seána Kerslake (“Dollhouse”) and James Quinn Markey (“Vikings”), are very good and little can be reproached in this aspect.

Another problem with this movie is that it does not have any memorable moment. Even worse, at all time it remains in the safe side of horror, using element already known by all. This causes the movie to feel bland as it does not risk or contributes nothing new. It also has a few plot holes, one of them being never exposing the motives for some important events in the plot.

“The Hole in the Ground” is based on how a relationship between a mother and son changes as they start a new life. Much of what happens can be interpreted as metaphors of post-traumatic stress disorder, and this is done remarkably well. When it tries to present it as a horror movie it ends up bland, superficial, and predictable. On my part, this movie goes without trouble or fanfare; it is not a bad movie, but neither it is impressive.

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