Hole, The (Review)

(9/22/10; Fantasy, Thriller)
Teri Polo, Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Bruce Dern, Nathan Gamble, Quinn Lord
SCR: Mark L. Smith
DIR: Joe Dante
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for frightening images, violence and some language.
1 hour 38 mins
BOX: $4,548,047 (UK Only)

For about 15 years, Dante was the court jester of a Hollywood in which Spielberg was king. His movies often combined horror with comedy to great effect. Very few directors could ever be credited with movies that evoked a feeling – a vibe. Consider Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) and Matinee (1993).

Each was a genre film that had so much fun playing with the audience; they were practically postmodern comments on themselves. I offer this windy explanation to illustrate the circle of life, Hollywood-style. Dante’s first major flop was Small Soldiers (1998), followed by his next big disappointment, the shoulda-been-a-smash Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).

It took Dante six more years before he directed another feature, this high-concept thriller about a hole in the floor of a basement. And you know what? It’s vintage Dante, and by definition, it’s a doozy. We’re talking about a boarded up hole that leads nowhere. Or is it a portal to hell? Either way, when a teenage boy and his younger brother discover the boarded up doorway and open it, strange things start to happen.

Once the action gets going, it’s twisted and funny, and altogether creepy. True to form, Dante takes a simple concept and bends the hell out of it. Sure, it’s a little dated. The Hole seems like a movie from another time, which is probably why it languished on the shelf before taking a trip straight to video. But if you grew up a fan of Dante’s work, this is one hole worth jumping into. (E1 Entertainment)


Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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