Dir. Lee Cronin
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“He’s not your son...”
Parenting can be tough at the best of times, so why would anyone be freaked out if your child overnight suddenly became more helpful, polite and loving? Arriving for meals on time, tidying up without being asked and bringing you little gifts… It sounds a bit too good to be true, and in The Hole In The Ground – it is…
Trying to escape her abusive past, single mum Sarah O'Neill (an excellent turn by Seána Kerslake) is aiming to build a new life on the fringes of a backwoods rural town with her young son Chris. The little family face the usual struggle to settle in with school kids being mean and the locals keep to themselves, but things take a turn for the worse when Sarah has a terrifying encounter with a mysterious neighbour. Also, it seems Chris is a bit too fascinated by the huge ominous sinkhole in the forest that borders their home and falling in might be the least of their worries.
"meeting the neighbours"
What follows is an effectively freaky slow burn horror that feels a lot like last year’s excellent Hereditary in its growing sense of menace. As Sarah’s existence spirals into a waking nightmare of paranoia and mistrust of her son – it feels like time is running out for her to try and uncover if the disturbing changes in her little boy are connected to the strange hole.
James Quinn Markey is excellent as Chris, bringing a bright-eyed, Danny Torrence meets Cole Sear from The Sixth Sense steely-yet-vulnerable presence to the role. Has he simply turned over a new leaf to be a more ideal son, or is there a much more sinister explanation to his behaviour? His performance is spot on to keep you guessing.
"if he's not your son - what is he?"
Director Cronin has a brilliant eye for camera angles, cinematic landscapes and dread-inducing scenes. Whilst produced on a small budget, this is a potential flagship for Irish films. The effective and sparsely used score is excellently used too as before long viewers actually start to feel the loneliness and isolation of the mother in her unlikely dilemma.
The creepy atmosphere ratchets up to a climax that feels part The Descent and part Blair Witch – which for horror fans is no bad thing. Overall The Hole In The Ground deserves to be checked out by anyone looking for a thoughtful chiller – especially parents!!
"parenting can be rough"
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(4 - Freaksome creepy effective horror...)
Awesomeness ööö – Nail biting compulsory
Laughs ö – Not much funny business
Horror öööö –Very good dread build up
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - A mothers instinct is strong