In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Welcome Back Joe!

The last film that I’d like to talk about from this year’s TIFF experience is Joe Dante’s new offering The Hole. Any child of the eighties will no doubt be familiar with this director’s work, whose credits include Gremlins, The Explorers and The ‘burbs. And that’s not even mentioning his contribution to more straight-up horror with titles like Piranha and The Howling.

While the Thompsons are moving into their new house, Dane (Chris Massoglia) & his younger brother Lucas (Nathan Gamble) discover a boarded up hole in the cellar. Joined by their new neighbour Julie (Haley Bennett), they try to discover exactly what it is and whether their opening it is the cause of some strange occurrences around town.

The Hole is a fairly light affair, but that might be what makes it stand out. What Dante has given us here is a fun adventure film that can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old. It so made me recall the PG horror movies that I devoured as a child, like Lady In White, Cat’s Eye, House and Poltergeist. Okay, those last two might not have been PG, but I sure watched the hell out of them in my formative years. Perhaps what I found most appealing about The Hole, is the sense of wonder within it. We all had summer adventures when we were young and you may have also had your own hole and by that I mean, a mysterious place that you felt compelled to explore. Mine was a drainage tunnel near my house that ran underground for several hundred feet. Once my friends and I discovered it, it took us days to finally get up the courage to walk through to the other side. It is this kind of energy Dante harnesses with The Hole, taking this ‘what if’ scenario and running with it.

Troll's Tunnel in Oakville, Ontario.

The Hole is presented in 3-D, but you know, it almost doesn’t need it. There are very few gimmicky moments and apart from the last fifteen minutes – which take place inside the hole and employ a fantastically skewed visual style – you almost don’t even notice the technology. The casting of the three leads is top notch and they really come across as kids being kids while the parental unit is away. Dante sprinkles in a few cameos here and there that his fans are sure to get a kick out of, as well.

The children of the eighties are now grown up and having their own kids and The Hole is a perfect example of something they can enjoy together. Thank you Mr. Dante, for reminding me of a time when my only care in the world was being home before the streetlights came on.

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