The Hole in the Ground


Sarah (Seána Kerslake) and her son Chris (James Quinn Markey) have left everything behind and are making a new life for themselves in backwoods Ireland. Due to a series of strange and disturbing occurrences involving a deranged neighbor and a mysterious sinkhole in the woods, Sarah begins to question the identity of her son.

The Hold in the Ground is a film with very overt Lovecraftian themes, and thus immediately captured my interest. The sense of dread begins building early on, accentuated by the understated and eerie score. The cinematography also adds to the feeling of unease, with disorienting shots and overhead views of the sinkhole.

The biggest pitfall that The Hole in the Ground stumbles into is utilizing every horror cliche in the book. Jump scares and loud sound cues for mundane events are common here. The premise of a child turning evil is something that has been overused, and this film doesn’t really do anything different. Chris says creepy things to his mother, behaves erratically, etc. If you’ve seen one child possession film, none of this will come as a surprise. The scene at the musical is the singular exception, and I thought it was well done and genuinely creepy.

The real tragedy is that The Hole in the Ground didn’t need all of the typical showy scares to be effective. The idea of this bizarre sinkhole driving people to insanity is terrifying enough, and would appeal greatly to fans of Lovecraft and other cosmic horror. I think it would have been more effective to never show the subterranean creatures at all, and to only acknowledge their existence at the end of the film when Sarah views her son through the lens of a camera.

The Hole in the Ground is a horror film with an interesting premise that wallows in the cliches of the genre and never reaches its full potential, but is worth a watch nonetheless.

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