The Hole in the Ground (2019)
March 17, 2023 10:39 AM - Subscribe

One night, Sarah's young son disappears into the woods behind their rural home. When he returns, he looks the same, but his behavior grows increasingly disturbing. Sarah begins to believe that the boy who returned may not be her son at all.

Starring Seána Kerslake, James Cosmo, Simone Kirby, Steve Wall, James Quinn Markey.

Directed by Lee Cronin. Written by Lee Cronin, Stephen Shields. Produced by Conor Barry, John Keville. Distributed in the US by A24.

83% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Kanopy, Showtime, Fubo, and DirecTV. Also available for digital rental. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (1 comment total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I watched this for the same reason a lot of people will: Lee Cronin is the filmmaker behind the upcoming Evil Dead Rise, which looks extremely promising. So in a way, I wasn't watching this just as its own movie, I was also getting a sense of Cronin's skills before I see his work on one of my favorite franchises.

The new Evil Dead movie looks to be in good hands. The Hole in the Ground is good. The story itself is no revelation (shapeshifting monster replaces kid; parental anxiety dramatized in supernatural form). But it's quite well-made. It's impressive looking, has creepy energy, some very solid scares, good performances given room to breathe, and it's a slow-burn that is still paced well and not overlong. It's a B- premise, but it's A-level execution all around.

Cronin shows a knack for dread, for creepy not-quite-humans, for memorable images, for leveraging sound and music well, and he wrings anxiety out of tiny moments. I can absolutely see why they picked him for Evil Dead Rise.

The only thing I hated was the cliché opening sequence with desaturated drone footage of a forest, punctuated by the equally cliché camera-does-a-vertical-flip move. I do not know why so many otherwise interesting horror directors are completely unable to resist that bullshit in their opening shots.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:04 AM on March 17 [4 favorites]

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