The Hole is a 2009 kid’s horror film, in which two boys move with their mother to a new home, and find a mysterious, seemingly bottomless hole in their basement. After discovering, they are joined by the cute girl next door, and strange things start happening to all three.
As a kid’s film, there are of course limitations. Nothing can be too gory or too horrifying, but the film does well with what it has. The three kids all have to face their own individual fears, thanks to having stared down into the hole, and these are handled well, with each kid having something that reflects both their age and their own personality, as well as what they have each been through.
The youngest, Lucas, has a fear of clowns. Pretty simple childhood fear, and he gets haunted by the clown doll that his brother brings to the new house. Yeah, the doll is creepy, especially if you don’t like dolls in the first place (which I really, really don’t), and it’s enough to maybe freak a kid out a little but not too much. The three kids also get haunted by a strange little girl, who pops up in random places and whose movements are stiff and awkward.
As a kid’s horror, it works pretty well. Like most films of its type, the parents are mostly absent. The kids are left to band together and fend for themselves, without any outside help. And though the main threat is supernatural, there’s a real fear felt by Dane, the older brother. As the film unravels, we learn more about his past and why his mother keeps constantly moving them, and it leads to a nice climax as Dane faces his own fear in a nightmarish world.
The kids have to learn to face their fears, and learn that sometimes, they have to let go of the things that hold them back. They manage to do it, and manage to survive (even when the only adult who has been through the same thing is killed). It’s a kid’s film, so the stakes aren’t too high, but it does show that a little bit of bravery – even in the face of the things that scare them the most – can go a hell of a long way.
A decent film, but not great outside of its target audience. Still, probably one well worth showing to young horror fans or even using as an introduction to the genre.