Keira Knightley
The Hole
Medium: film
Year: 2001
Director: Nick Hamm
Writer: Guy Burt, Ben Court, Caroline Ip
Keywords: horror
Country: UK
Actor: Thora Birch, Desmond Harrington, Daniel Brocklebank, Laurence Fox, Keira Knightley, Embeth Davidtz, Steven Waddington, Emma Griffiths Malin, Jemma Powell, Gemma Craven
Format: 102 minutes
Website category: Horror modern
Review date: 12 September 2002
The Hole is a clever, twisty movie that I didn't care for at all. It's got psychological games, lies, layers of truth being peeled back and other good stuff... but also it has those six fatal words: I Don't Care About These Characters.
This movie is set in an English public school. As far as I could tell it's a boarding school, but not single-sex! As a former English public schoolboy I found this massively unlikely, but once I'd got over this hiccup then everything seemed unpleasantly realistic. The characters were well portrayed, though not in a nice way. They're all self-centred, spoiled gits with posh accents (except for the American, obviously, but his presence isn't unreasonable; there were always one or two foreign students).
If only I could have cared about its characters, this film could have been terrific. Theoretically it has everything. The characterisation is good and the performances are mostly spot-on, except for Thora Birch. Unfortunately she's playing the lead. Her accent doesn't slip and she's okay throughout, but this part needed better than just "okay". A great performance could have grabbed the audience by the scruff of its neck and turned The Hole into a horrific roller-coaster that would wring your guts into sausage meat. Instead everything just sort of happens, which is a shame.
Another disappointment for the perverts out there involves Thora Birch's rather nice breasts. There's a fair bit of nudity in this movie, but it's almost all male (full-frontal, in the school showers!) and if you want to see Thora flop 'em out then you'll just have to watch American Beauty again. Another missed opportunity there, methinks.
The English setting was refreshing, but it's a shame about the goofs. You dial 999 (not 911) for the UK emergency services and British schools don't have vacations. We have holidays, exeats and even "vac"s (yeah, I know), but not "vacations".
If you make it through to the end, you'll find some clever twists and surprises. Eventually, at long last, these got me interested in what might happen next... but then the film ended! For once here we have a horror-ish movie that ends too soon. I'd have loved to see some just desserts! Some of this movie's events are fucked in the head, which was impressive, and one scene was downright unpleasant. However if none of the characters have earned your sympathy then none of it really means anything.
Oh, and is that the dodgiest title for any horror movie ever?