The Hole In The Ground is incredibly apt at understanding the unknown, and more importantly the fear of the unknown
The Hole In The Ground, a genuinely marvellous and thrilling example of low budget horror, is a film with forceful impetus and power. Helmed immaculately by debutante feature director Lee Cronin, it often takes film makers years and multiple features to find a voice as vivid and as unique as Cronin manages in The Hole In The Ground, and it is this voice that gives the film its sheer forcefulness.
Sarah (Seana Kerslake) and her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey) have recently moved to a small cottage in rural Ireland. Unsettled by an aggressive and mysterious old woman living nearby, Sarah becomes wary of others and her surroundings. Her apprehension takes greater control when one night she discovers Chris out of bed, with no sign of his whereabouts. Whilst searching the nearby forest, Sarah chances upon an enormous sinkhole leading deep into the undergrowth, locating her lost child soon after. However, with the old woman claiming Chris is not Sarah’s son, her apprehension leads her down an even darker path.
The Hole In The Ground is incredibly apt at understanding the unknown, and more importantly the fear of the unknown. Becoming a strong theme running through the feature from the beginning, whether it be the visuals, the script, or the setting, this overriding fear takes hold from a very early stage. It’s difficult to avoid its effects as it remains such a core power of the piece, and Cronin has understood that, grasped it and made it the element the keeps blood pumping through The Hole In The Ground’s veins.
Kerslake’s performance is wonderfully sceptical, and with the rest of the picture clearly drawing from Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining, her role compares beautifully to that of Shelly Duvall’s Wendy. Though ultimately different characters, their constant state of fear and unsettled nature pair very well thematically. Kerslake runs the picture, and drawing from films with similar themes has truly allowed her to express her instilled fear frightfully.
Backed by calm but rattled co actors, and a brilliantly realised performance from young James Quinn Markey, The Hole In The Ground feels like a complete production. The cinematography from Tom Comerfeld is visually breathtaking, and the setting of rural Ireland gives it a truly otherworldly feel. So when its final moments come, The Hole In The Ground reaches its marvellous peak, showing how wild endings can lead to tying together a film, as long as its themes run strong throughout.
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