The Hole in the Ground continues a core theme of recent horror. In playing with the relationship between a mother and child. In particular focusing on the themes of trust and connectivity that come from the parent/child link. While embedding this in a fantasy and folklore environment, where what’s hidden beneath our feet shapes the horror of the world above.
Written by Stephen Shields and directed by Lee Cronin. The Hole in the Ground focuses on a recently single mother Sarah (Seána Kerslake) and her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey). With both mother and child building a new life on the outskirts of a small Irish town. Where it is clear that they are escaping the trauma and hurt of a difficult marriage for Sarah. One where her son may also have been hurt. However, as they start their new life on the isolated outskirts of a forest, the future looks bright. That is until the forest surrounding their home begins to give up some of its secrets, when a large hole appears.
The Hole in the Ground builds tension and mystery perfectly in the first half of its running time. With a beautifully nuanced play on family security, mental health, and isolation. And it is here where the film truly shines, with strong performances and creative cinematography. Often echoing the visual style and tension of The Shining and Hereditary. However, this creativity sadly falters in the second half of the film. Where proceedings become rushed and predicable in achieving a conclusion. And while there are moments where the film plays a wonderful homage to both Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Village of the Damned. The ending fails to give us the twist the films desperately needs. Ultimately creating a missed opportunity for the film to truly shine.
But despite this fatal final flaw, The Hole in the Ground does embed itself in your memory. Offering tension rarely seen in modern horror, while surrounding this with solid performances and direction. Making it a film that still shines brightly in sea of lacklustre modern horror.
At times chilling and atmospheric, The Hole in the Ground never quite manages to build on its promising first half, opting for tried and tested horror techniques to conclude its story. However, still manages to shine brighter than most of its modern horror contemporaries.
Director: Lee Cronin