Horror Movie Review: The Hole in the Ground (2019)

The Hole in the Ground is an Irish horror thriller film that was directed by Lee Cronin. It released in March 2019 after Premiering at Sundance Film Festival in January. The story follows a single mother who becomes increasingly paranoid that her son’s sudden change in behaviour is linked to an ominous sinkhole.

Sarah and her troubled son Christopher have just moved to a house in the Irish countryside. It is later implied that she had fled there in an attempt to escape an abusive relationship with the father. One night, Sarah discovers that Chris isn’t in his bed. Panicked, she searches for him everywhere which leads to the forest. While there, she comes across a massive sinkhole that seems to have a hypnotic effect on her. Afterwards, she returns to the house only to find Chris had been there all along.

Sarah almost has a collision with an old woman standing in the middle of the road, whose husband comes to take her back to their house. Later, Sarah has another encounter with the old woman, who tells her that her son is ‘not your son’. Soon after, Sarah begins to notice Chris displaying unusual behaviour. He eats food he doesn’t like, makes friends at school, does his homework and is generally better behaved than usual. If that wasn’t disturbing enough, she witnesses him eating a spider when he is supposed to be asleep. Sarah decides to get Chris and herself checked by a doctor who gives her medication but declares that Chris is fine.

Later, Sarah discovers the old woman has been murdered with her head buried in the ground. Sarah attends the funeral where she speaks with the woman’s late husband. He informs Sarah that his wife had believed that their son James was someone or something else entirely. She was able to detect this through mirrors which showed the true appearance of the creature. Eventually, the woman killed James but her husband believed it to be an accident. Afterwards, Sarah’s suspicions of Chris slam into overdrive.

What will she discover? Check out The Hole in the Ground to find out.

Firstly, I really enjoyed the premise of this film. It’s a simple concept but one that’s executed in an effective way. There is a creepy vibe throughout that carries all the way through. As soon as it begins you get a real sense of the loneliness and tension within Sarah. Her relationship with Chris has managed to stay strong regardless of the adversity that they have faced. A good amount of time is dedicated showing you certain aspects of Chris’s character. Therefore, As soon as Chris begins to demonstrate odd behaviour you feel the paranoia that Sarah does. The uncertainty surrounding him and Sarah’s mental state is the most enjoyable aspect of the film. It helps create a number of tense moments and a deep uncertainty in what is real and what isn’t.

The most common complaint The Hole in the Ground will face is that it’s drab, depressing and very slow paced. The mythos surrounding the body snatching creatures is highly intriguing. However, it’s barely explored. It’s a creepy mystery but I would have liked a bit more in terms of questions answered. Also, there are a couple of moments within that plot that don’t add up.

Other than that, it’s well shot and the performances are very good. Seána Kerslake (Sarah) conveys a wide range of emotions impressively. You get a real sense of her slow descent into madness as things begin to ramp up.

Overall, The Hole in the Ground is a highly atmospheric horror film that not everyone will appreciate. This is mainly due to its subtle tones and slow pacing. One thing’s for sure, I’ll certainly be checking my own child’s reflection every now and then.




The Hole in the Ground
  • The Final Score - 7/10
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