The Hole (2009)
written by Mark L. Smith
directed by Joe Dante
Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Gremlins (1984), Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), The ‘Burbs (1987). Yep, you can say I’m a fan of director Joe Dante and his extensive ’80s output of horror/sci-fi/fantasy films, replete with geeky references to classic B-movies and the work of animator Chuck Jones, in particular Looney Tunes (1930-1969). So when one day I saw there was a fairly recent Dante horror pic on Netflix, I was immediately curious and excited. Did he still have the touch?
Turns out he pretty much does. The Hole is a cool little throwback about two brothers who discover what seems like a bottomless pit in the basement of their new suburban home. They start to investigate with the aid of their spunky neighbor, and soon enough the hole reveals itself to be a dark passage to their worst fears, including a bullying father, a dead little girl, and of course… clowns. It’s all very simple but nonetheless effective, akin to a Stephen King short story. And as usual, Dante has fun with practical special effects, particularly during a climax that employs surreal set designs and forced perspective shots. What’s not to like?
Carlos I. Cuevas