The line between genius and madness is well and truly walked with The Hill and the Hole. A science-fiction horror from the directing team of Bill Darmon and Christopher Ernst. The former wrote the screenplay which is based on a short story by Fritz Leiber called Conjure Wife.
I really wanted to like this film. It’s brand of oddness and sci-fi horror is the sort of thing that appeals to me. Sadly though, it’s such a mess of a movie and one that leaves far too many loose ends, that it’s hard to be positive about it.
Imaginative? Absolutely! Intriguing? At times. Interesting? At first but it quickly goes wrong. It’s akin to watching someone try to ape David Lynch’s surreal style but failing to tie all the nonsense together.
The film stars Liam Kelly as Tom Digby, a land surveyor for the Bureau of Land Management. While doing some work in a remote corner of New Mexico, he comes across a strange hill that appears to be man-made. It sits on the property of a local rancher who, along with is buddies, doesn’t take kindly to Tom’s trespassing.
They attack him and tie him up with the intent to seemingly kill him, but he manages to escape. Arriving at the local town, he begins to uncover a deep and dark secret connected to the mysterious hill. One that suggest he is just another in a long line of surveyors destined to climb the hill.
I’ve tried to make as much sense of this story but there is so much more going on. So much confusing and seemingly pointless jumps, twists and turns. Following it is no easy task and you will need to be fully alert and paying attention to grasp even some of it.
Cast wise, the film doesn’t have anyone throw in a memorable performance, but everyone is solid enough. There’s iffy dialogue here and there, some relationships feel forced and the lead isn’t that likeable but considering the topic of the film, few could have really done wonders here.
What is well done though is the film’s cinematography and visual effects. If there’s one thing that most will remember it is those. The Hill and the Hole is shot really well and the sharp colour schemes of the more ‘trippy’ moments looks great. Although the less said about the CGI, the better.
This is one of those films where different people will get totally different things out of it. For everyone who loves it, there will be others who absolutely hate.
The Hill and the Hole