Children in movies are adorable. They speak in this high-pitched cute curious tones that make us all tilt our head to one side and go “awwwwwww.” We can’t help but adore them. (Well, sometimes – others think that they are annoying and whiney but that’s moot here.)
However, if you put any child of any cuteness in a horror film – they are bound to creep you out. Horror movie children – even if they are the victim – are insanely disturbing and even more so if they are the terror that haunts you (See: The Village, The Grudge, The Rin
This year’s highly underrated horror gem, The Hole In The Ground sees young Sarah moving to a small secluded Irish village with her son Chris, following from an abusive relationship. When Chris gets lost in the woods, Sarah finds him on the edge of a sinkhole that is ever growing in the forest by their home. When she gets him back, she starts to notice peculiar things and starts to suspect that her child may not be what he seems. Soon Sarah starts to spiral out of control…
Lee Cronin’s uneasy horror is a masterfully paced horror that unnerves you from the beginning. From the brown-hued cinematography to the imposing forest that creaks and looms with the Stephen McKeon’s enrapturing score, The Hole In The Ground is about tension that crawls across your skin and digs into your senses. Cronin builds by having the audience constantly question along with Sarah. As you try to work out why the dead-eyed, innocent-speaking Chris is evil or not, the writing and direction lulls you into a horrifying scare.
Seána Kerslake is brilliant as Sarah. She performs as a woman utterly unsure about her weird- acting child. Caught between utter reason – as no one else around her can sense there is something wrong – or the gnawing gut feeling that her child is not her own, Kerslake brilliantly unravels Sarah with great affect as you follow your her in this utterly terrifying journey. Young James Quinn Markey is effective as Chris. For such a young actor, he really captures that sense of unease with his character, making seamlessly innocent moments – such as a classic school performance -completely petrifying.
As with most things, The Hole In The Ground falters somewhat in the big finale and reveal. It’s not a big falter but because you have all the answers, a lot of that juicy and delicious tension melts away. Again, this isn’t a huge deal because Cronin succeeds in taking you on this intense horror journey that sticks with you after.
With a brooding atmosphere and stunning acting, The Hole In The Ground is one of the best horrors, and films, of the year.
The Hole In The Ground is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!