Reviewed by Caitlyn Grey
What would you do if your life started to resemble that of local folklore? Shortly after moving to a secluded rural town, that’s exactly what happens to now single mother Sarah O’Neill (Seána Kerslake). While Sarah is adjusting to her new life, her school-age son Christopher (James Quinn Markey) is struggling to cope without his father, who Sarah said was right behind them during the unexpected move. After a heated argument between the small family, Christopher disappears into the forest next to their home. Chasing her son into the unknown, Sarah finds herself at the edge of a large sinkhole, which marked the beginning of strange occurrences.
Later that week, the O’Neill family has a terrifying encounter with Noreen Brady (Kati Outinen), their senile neighbor, while driving home from school. Noreen yells at Sarah and says that Chris isn’t her son. The altercation ends when Noreen’s husband Des (James Cosmo) tries pulling Noreen from the car. Noreen finally gives in after splitting her forehead open on the passenger window. With Noreen’s menacing words, Sarah starts to fear that the son who returned from the forest was not the same boy who went in. Noticing some small changes in his behavior, like his food preferences, what he chose to watch on TV, and even his fear of spiders, Sarah makes the declaration to Christ that he is not her son. An intense battle pursues, which sends Sarah back into the woods, which appears she fears, to find her real son.
The Hole in the Ground is quite possibly the best sensory-specific movie I’ve seen all year, but possibly in all the movies I’ve seen. Director of Photography Tom Comerford begins the movie with a phenomenal opening sequence of establishing shots. The cinematography throughout the film coupled with the superb musical score composed by Stephen McKeon creates a sight-and-sound experience everyone should experience. While the last twenty minutes or so of the film pushes the boundaries of this sensory experience with a mostly black screen and a solid ten minutes of just the sound of breathing, the other seventy minutes are expertly executed.
Please note, there is about a five-minute sequence in the middle of the film that includes rapid flashing lights that may cause an issue for those with light sensitivity.
With any horror movie, you want to know how scary it’ll be before committing to sitting down and watching a horror, foreign film such as this one. As previously mentioned, the marriage of sight and sound creates a horror experience that puts you on edge to begin with. Throughout the entirety of the film you’ll just have that, “I know something bad is about to happen” feeling. The offputting thing is that there were maybe one or two big scares throughout the whole film. Multiple times the scene suddenly ended what seemed moments before the scare should’ve happened. I like to believe this was done to keep the audience on edge as they waited for the scare to come. All in all, I’d give The Hole in the Ground 1 out of 5 possessed dolls. It had the potential to be the scariest film I’ve seen in some time but fell just short of the mark.
Overall, I’d give The Hole in the Ground 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you haven’t already guessed, I loved how much of a sensory experience this film was. It captured my attention in the first few minutes and kept it almost through the end. My only critique of the film is that the ending came about very quickly. Sarah, out of nowhere and without any further provocation, seemed to have known all along where to go and what to do to get her son back. I think there’s nothing worse than building up such a strong film, just to rush through the ending.
If you want to watch The Hole in the Ground for yourself, it’s available for free with an Amazon Prime subscription.
Caitlyn Grey is a horror and suspense author who loves all things creepy. Her first novel, Lost Girls, debuted early this year, with a second novel expected to be released this upcoming fall. As a lover of what most would find obscure, Grey prides herself on her unique and quirky personality. She credits her love for all things horror and paranormal to all of the Stephen King, Wes Craven, and Edgar Allan Poe works she started experiencing at the tender age of eight. While most children her age were playing with friends, she was making up stories of shadow figures appearing at the foot of a child’s bed in the middle of the night. The rest, as the story goes, is history. Now, fifteen years later, Grey has devoted her life to scaring the next generation, as her idols had for her.