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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Chris Massoglia
Hayley Bennett
Nathan Gamble
Teri Polo.
Directors
Joe Dante.
Screenwriters
Mark L. Smith.
Running Time
92 minutes

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The Hole In 3D
Insert your own Dante's inferno line here...


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Plot
Doctor Susan (Polo) uproots her two children, teen Dane (Massoglia) and younger brother Lucas (Gamble), to that old cinematic staple, the small American town. Soon the kids, joined by literal gal-next-door Julie (Bennett), discover a bolted-up trapdoor in the basement...


Review
The Hole In 3D
Given that 2010 cinema has spent much of its time revisiting prime cuts of ’80s ephemera, from literal remakes (Clash Of The Titans, The Karate Kid) and TV riffs (The A-Team, MacGruber) to spins on favourite genres like time-travel comedy (Hot Tub Time Machine) and meathead action (The Expendables), it was perhaps only a matter of time before we got to The Suburban Kids Go On An Adventure movie. Enter The Hole, the kind of family-friendly horror flick that 25 years ago may well have worn an Amblin logo.

Yet The Hole is directed by ’80s enfant terrible Joe Dante, who with Gremlins (famously ‘the anti E. T.’) and Explorers syringed Spielbergian-style fantasies with equal dollops of darkness, anarchy and subversive comedy. His first feature since 2003’s Looney Toons Back In Action, it’s perfect Dante: a strong set-up (“You’ve got a gateway to hell under your house,” says local babe Julie, “and that is really cool”), the fantastical invading the familiar, and the latitude to do all kinds of visually absurd, inventive and creepy set-pieces.

Dante departs from the ’80s family flick in two respects. Firstly, as with Explorers, where the aliens turn out to be TV-obsessed idiots, what is inside the hole is not obvious. Secondly, the story has some dark corners that are unusual in the genre. Yet where The Hole really scores — and this is rare in modern horror — is in its lead characters. Dante spends at least the first third of the film just hanging out with his kids, creating believable, shifting relationships between the two siblings (Chris Massoglia, a sparky Nathan Gamble) and the sassy blonde-next-door (Hayley Bennett). Bruce Dern is the most memorable adult as the first inhabitant of the house, warning kids the hole has been there “since the world’s first scream” with relish.

For kids hopped up on Red Bull and Saw XIV, The Hole might feel on the tame side, but it has more imagination, style and genuine dread than a hatful of My Bloody Valentines. This skill extends to the 3D trickery, which includes the old-school ’50s approach — a baseball whooshes towards camera — with a more sophisticated take, finding spookiness in exaggerating foreground objects or creating an extreme depth of field in a spooky theme park. It’s a subtle approach that befits a smart, involving, thoroughly entertaining flick.


Verdict
Welcome back, Joe Dante, and welcome back ’80s family frights. It might be too lightweight for hardcore horror types, but this is a great way to get in touch with your inner eight-year-old.


Reviewed by Ian Freer

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Hole In 3D
Empire Star Rating

A hole lot of fun

Previous Dante films that have played in the scary movie field have been leavened with a dark humour (“Gremlins”, “The Burbs”). This one plays a bit more seriously, a horror movie for kids, so no gore and a few lightweight scares when two kids discover a trapdoor in the basement of their new home which has some nasty surprises for them in store. It’s kind of fun especially when it gets a bit Twilight Zone-ish towards the end, though it’s hardly original. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by RJNeb2 at 19:26, 09 November 2014 | Report This Post


im sorry but i genuinely thought that this film was dreadful in every way possible. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jackcarlin18 at 19:10, 28 January 2012 | Report This Post


ok

anyone who says this is scary is either a liar or a 6-year old. It's ok, fairly enjoyable. But the teen who plays the older brother is one of the worst actors I've ever seen! he's terrible! ruins the movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 23:09, 18 June 2011 | Report This Post


Tragic. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 10:24, 14 December 2010 | Report This Post


12 ?

i wouldn't let me 12 year old daughter see this! hey i wouldn't let my mum see it! i was pleasantly suprised at how creepy this film was in places. the whole tone was eerie and unsetteling. shame when they finally ventured into the hole it was a bit of a let down but it was a mystery for the whole film and maybe if this was made to a 15/18 certificate this could've been an absolute classic. really liked it tho, really dark for a 12 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jerkyjudas at 00:47, 16 November 2010 | Report This Post


And you thought Coraline was dark?

I watched this expecting it to be more of a 3D fantasy Zathura style than a horror. I agree with previous postings, I would watch this yourself before taking any kids as it is liable to give younger kids nightmares! For adult horror aficionados, the tension that is present for much of this film will seem familiar, even if the end result is a b it lite. The theme that the older child has to fight an abusive, violent father in a fantasy world is quite a dark theme, and sadly once the brothers are ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by filmsunlimited at 09:39, 03 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Creepy 12A

General word around on Joe Dante’s The Hole is that it’s too scary for kids and it’s too childish for adults, and this may go a little way to explaining why it’s only just been released two years after it was completed and still hasn’t been released in the States.  However the 80s were full of films of this nature, from The Monster Squad to The Goonies to Gremlins, and the latter two, amongst many others, were big hits.  The Hole is very much a throwback to that kind of film, a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 21:01, 29 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Creepy 12A

Cliches are an unavoidable asset of cinema. ‘There are no new ideas anymore,’ many people say, and they think that all Hollywood has to offer is regurgitated storylines and unnecessary remakes. There may be a grain of truth in that statement, but clichés are not always something to avoid. The usage of clichés may be due to lack of creativity, but sometimes also it is because there is something irresistible about certain clichés, something that enhances the film rather than ruins it. eost recent... More

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Posted by McGeesJabberwock at 17:02, 26 September 2010 | Report This Post


Creepy 12A

You know, we haven't creeped out as much as this for a long time....and that includes many so called 'horror' films, Last Excorcism anyone? Too creepy for kids surely, and not scary enough for the really hardened horror fans, but surely everyone in between can have fun with this? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The kUrGaN at 07:23, 25 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Hole 3D.... Better Than An Adult Horror

Joe Dante's first film in 7 years seems about 25 years out of date, but that's not a bad thing. It's an eighties throwback in all the best ways. Teenager Dane and little brother Lucas move to a new town with their mum. This just the latest in a long line of relocations. They soon make friends with Julie the cute girl next door and discover a bottomless pit in their basement where something nasty lurks It has a great creepy atmosphere, some effective shock moments and is genuinely frighteni... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Scruffybobby at 09:48, 24 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Hole 3D.... Better Than An Adult Horror

Saw this tonight. It was fricking terrifying! loved it. Glad we didn't take the kids in end, they'd have probably not slept for the next month! The 3D effects were good. The freaky clown thing was great and the little girl really creepy (aren't they all?)! An enjoyable movie, which is probably the scariest film I've seen in years, but is questionable on whether it's suitable for kids. I know mine wouldn't have sat through it. 4.5/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by juanvasquez at 23:33, 23 September 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Hole 3D.... Better Than An Adult Horror

Good, enjoyable fun that's definitely a throwback to the eighties horror-for-kids films. Delivers some creepy moments but perhaps not enough to stick in the mind. Totally agree about the comment suggesting this will be difficult to market - the cinema that I saw it in on opening night was dead, perhaps a consequence of so many lousy 3D films this year? A shame since this one was at least shot with that medium in mind. 3/5 ... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 04:42, 23 September 2010 | Report This Post


The Hole 3D.... Better Than An Adult Horror

Excellent but remember its just a 12A so horror freaks shouldnt complain that it is too tame but that said it is genuinly creepy and scary. My sister is 14 and she saw The Lovely Bones and was well freaked out so she would probably die if she saw an adult horror so The Hole would be perfect for her as she recently admitted to liking creepy films. For older kids this film is a treat. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 18:02, 22 September 2010 | Report This Post


The Hole 3D.... Better Than An Adult Horror

Excellent but remember its just a 12A so horror freaks shouldnt complain that it is too tame but that said it is genuinly creepy and scary. My sister is 14 and she saw The Lovely Bones and was well freaked out so she would probably die if she saw an adult horror so The Hole would be perfect for her as she recently admitted to liking creepy films. For older kids this film is a treat. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 18:02, 22 September 2010 | Report This Post


The Hole

I've always been a big fan of Joe Dante so was excited to see this one. The Hole is a lot of fun, but it's hard to see who exactly will get the most out of it. Certainly it's far too scary for younger kids (that jester is surely a direct nod to Poltergeist), but it's also not quite consistently scary enough to hit home with a lot of adults who will wonder why they're watching what is essentially a horror film for kids. That said, there's a lot to enjoy here, and if you grew up as a kid in t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 17:04, 22 September 2010 | Report This Post


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