Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Hole (2009?) dir Joe Dante

Apparently this movie is from 2009 even though I hadn't heard hide nor hair of it since I saw a trailer for it last month and rented it yesterday evening.

That bein' said.

Joe Dante had a massive influence on me as a kid and in my development as sci-fi/horror fan.  Gremlins (1984), and The 'Burbs (1989) are two of my favorite movies of all time (The 'Burbs ranks especially high). I felt that Small Soliders (1998) was a disappointment but I haven't rewatched it since I saw it in the theater.  I was a little disappointed by Dante's "Masters of Horror" releases but then again the "Masters of Horror" series was generally disappointing.  After seeing the trailer for The Hole I have to admit I squeed a little.  It looked like a return to the Dante I grew up on, kind of absurdist, kind of bizarre, twisted humor, and moments of brilliance.

The Hole is a Dante movie and certainly hearkens back to a time when kids could say "dickhead" in a movie meant for kids.  There are some solid creepy moments - I got goosebumps and had to make a conscious effort not to think about them when I went to sleep.  The three young adult actors are solid, I particularly liked the younger brother.  Thematically, it's a cut and dry classic 80s young adult horror film but the way it's handled isn't particularly cheesy.

I need to think of The Hole as a young adult horror movie, not in a nostalgia sense, and in doing so I think I'm appreciating it a lot more.  It doesn't have the "pop" some of the horror/adventure movies I grew up on (The Goonies, Fright Night, Gremlins, Monster Squad), there are moments where the movie felt kind of flat.  The kids' interactions with grown-ups seemed forced (which in retrospect make sense) and one scene which didn't make a whole lot of sense plot wise ended up being a catalyst for a moment of adult honesty which got me a little misty.

The Hole is definitely on my to buy list, not because it's all that great but I think it's a movie a lot of people could appreciate - plus some of the scares are fucking great, prey upon entrenched fears, and teaching kids and grown-ups how to live beyond their fears.  I'd let my kids watch it if they were the age I'd let them watch movies previously mentioned (if I had kids).    

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