The Hole in the Ground continues a theme of many recent horrors as it plays with the relationship between a mother and child, focusing on the themes of trust, connectivity and love. Here this core theme finds a voice through fantasy and folk horror, where what’s hidden beneath our feet shapes the terror of the world above. Written by Stephen Shields and directed by Lee Cronin, we join the recently single mother Sarah (Seána Kerslake) and her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey) as they build a new life on the outskirts of a small Irish town. From the outset, it is clear that Sarah is escaping the trauma and hurt of her past marriage and that Chris may also have been hurt during this time.
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As they start their new life on the outskirts of a forest, the future looks bright until a large hole appears in the woods surrounding their home. But what could this hole be? And why has Chris’ behaviour suddenly changed?
The Hole in the Ground beautifully builds its tension and mystery in the opening hour, with a sublime chiller built upon themes of family security, mental health, and isolation. Here elements of The Shining and Hereditary combine to create a genuinely divine atmosphere. However, this creativity and fear falter in the film’s second half as the film rushes toward a predictable horror conclusion. However, despite this flaw, The Hole in the Ground does carry moments of sheer brilliance and tension rarely seen. It’s just a pity it felt the need to succumb to Hollywood inspired horror in its final act.
Director: Lee Cronin