The Hole in the Ground

03/10/2019 09:51

Film: The Hole in the Ground

Year: 2019

Director: Lee Cronin

Writer: Lee Cronin and Stephen Shields

Starring: Seána Kerslake, James Quinn Markey and Simone Kirby



This was a film I heard about when it was making some festival rounds and I saw the trailer before other films I was checking out. I was quite intrigued even though I had heard some mixed reviews on it. When it came to my theater, I made it a point to check it out. The synopsis is trying to escape her broken past; Sarah O’Neill (Seána Kerslake) is building a new life on the fringes of a backwood rural town with her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey). After a terrifying encounter with her mysterious neighbor, she starts to wonder if her son is actually hers.

We kick off learning our two main characters. Sarah has just purchased this new house in the middle of nowhere and she is trying to fix it up. Her son, Chris, is struggling with adjusting to the new school and his father not being around. This actually creates an interesting dynamic that is revealed a bit later that Sarah’s confidence isn’t where it should be due to effects of her marriage. Chris is at that weird age where he is upset about the changes in his life and hasn’t made any friends yet.

They almost hit a woman who is in the middle of the road on the way home from school. Noreen Brady (Kati Outinen) doesn’t respond. Over dinner with Sarah’s boss and family tell more about this odd woman. Noreen lost her mind, thinking that her son was different and ended up killing him. Some think it was an accident, while others are not so sure. This makes Sarah feel bad for her.

There is an odd encounter though when Noreen is back in the middle of the road. Her husband, Des (James Cosmo), comes out to get her and Noreen freaks out. She starts to chant that Chris isn’t Sarah’s son and ends up hitting her head on the window to the point where it leaves a bloody mark.

Not too long after, Sarah and Chris get into a fight and he runs into the nearby woods and she chases after him. She ends up finding a giant sinkhole. She fears her son has gone into it, but she finds him nearby. She gets another scare in the middle of the night when she hears doors opening and closing. She can’t find Chris and calls the police. He appears though and they call it a night.

From there she starts to notice changes in her son, but she can’t seem to prove it. Noreen dies in an odd way and Sarah goes to the wake. She asks questions to Des who won’t hear any of it. She is out to prove though that this boy isn’t her son. Is what she believes right? Or is seeing struggling to deal with her own personal issues and this is what she believes?

I have to say that this brings an interesting concept that isn’t necessarily new. It is similar to what we’ve seen in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and there even was a segment similar to this in A Christmas Horror Story. With films and concepts like this, you really have to do something new, as the problem is things can get stale. I’m not saying that is a problem with this film, but it is something I felt needed to be brought up regardless.

Now what I did like about this story is that they present Sarah as having issues. At first I didn’t catch on that she was a victim of domestic abuse, but they subtly put this concept in the film. I actually really like this, because it made me wonder if her trauma and mental state if she is just projecting this or is this really happening? On top of that, she is new to being a single mother and that is difficult enough. There is even as aspect that when getting pregnant with Chris, she put her life on hold and moved on. This is all a deeper allegory I took from the film, which I liked.

Something I would have liked to see more of is if the sinkhole has something to do with Irish lore or not. I haven’t looked into this, but we do get the aspect that all of the mirrors are covered at the wake for Noreen. I have heard this is done so the spirit doesn’t get confused and can move on. I’m necessarily sure if that was the reason it was done in this film, but if it is, it’s a good touch. The mirror also comes into play with proving if the boy is still human or not as well.

An issue that I really had with the film actually I think comes from the pacing. I for whatever reason didn’t feel for the characters enough. The tension wasn’t being built like I think it should have. I hate to say it, but I didn’t care enough about the characters and what was happening to them, which also isn’t good. I know it wasn’t the acting, which I will cover more in-depth shortly and there was really good writing as well. There are a lot of things that are introduced, that are called back to later which I’m a big fan of. I thought the ending was fine, but the build up didn’t work for me like I wanted.

Now the acting for this film was good. I thought that Kerslake was solid as the mother. We can definitely tell that she is doing what she can, but that it is tough. I like the more we learn about her, the more damaged we see she is. I think this really helps build up the aspect that this could all be in her head. I was actually impressed by Markey as well. Children actors are usually hit or miss for me. We get introduced to enough of him before the change. His acting was solid through nuances and just little things. He did a really good job. I did want to shout out Cosmo and Outinen. I liked both of them in their roles and the rest of the cast rounded out the film for what was needed.

Effects for the film were also good. To be honest, there weren’t a lot of them, but the ones we did get were practical. Some examples of this were the creature design, which I liked. They do only give glimpses, which I think is very strategic to allow our brains to fill in the rest. I will always say my imagination scares me more than what a film can do at times. The sinkhole was solid and I really liked what it looks like inside of it as well. I do have to say the film was shot very well.

Now with that said, this film was good. The concept, though not new, is one that is interesting about if our loved ones are who we think they are. I do feel this film could have explored the mythology a bit more and there were pacing issues. The film was written very well, the acting was good and the effects were solid. The score of the film really didn’t stand out to me, but it also didn’t hurt the film. I will say that I liked this one; I just wanted a bit more. I do think that it is good though and would recommend giving it a viewing.


My Rating: 8 out of 10