Hole in the Ground, The


“You’re Not My Son”

Main Cast: Seana Kerslake, James Quinn Markey

Director: Lee Cronin

Single mother Sarah (Seana Kerslake, Smother), moves to the Irish countryside with her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey, Vikings) and one day he runs off through the woods. Sarah gives chase and comes to a stop when she finds a massive hole in the ground, the width of an American football field at least, maybe bigger. She stares at the hole for several seconds, sure Chris must have fallen in because he’s nowhere around. Then she hears him calling for her, somewhere behind her. She finds her son and takes him home and only later begins to suspect the boy she brought out of the woods might not be hers. And if this isn’t Chris, then where is he?

I was skimming the horror movies on MAX last night and was very unimpressed with the selection of movies I hadn’t already seen when I spotted THE HOLE IN THE GROUND.  I gave the trailer a watch and it seemed horror-y enough, I thought I’d give it a go. I’m glad I did. Writer/director Lee Cronin (EVIL DEAD RISE 2023) definitely knows how to create suspense, he knows his way around a camera angle, and how to best use light and shadow to create mood.

Granted, the story itself is as old as time—or at least as old as Ireland where changelings are known to display “unusual behavior when it thinks it is alone” (according to Wikipedia)—and that kind of diminishes the amount of horror to be found.  I think if I weren’t so sure from ten minutes in that this was a changeling story, I might have felt just a bit more dread (the monster you don’t know is ALWAYS worse than the one you do in horror), but having said that, I still very much enjoyed this movie and found myself engrossed throughout.

Kerslake gives an excellent performance while Markey is sometimes just creepy as hell.  And what parent hasn’t had the thought when their kids start to get older, if he wanted to bust in here while I’m sleeping and stab me to death, who could stop him?  Is it just me that has that thought?  Yeah, probably?  Okay, well, it doesn’t negate the fact our kids, once they start to get older and develop their own personalities apart from what we’ve instilled in them are scary as shit sometimes.  And you put that into a remote location like a big house in the middle of the woods in Ireland and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of sleepless nights!

Now, this isn’t to say THE HOLE IN THE GROUND is a frightfest.  Anything but.  Yes, it has horror elements, and no one wants to think they’d be afraid of their own child, but when the credits roll on this one, I’m not avoiding dark rooms or giving my kids the side-eye.  This was a movie watching experience and I’m sure within a few months I’ll remember I watched it, but will probably recall few details.  There are images I think will stick with me—like the hole in the ground, or the buried head scene—but overall this movie was Lee Cronin working his way toward EVIL DEAD, which I remember very well months after seeing it in the theater.

I enjoyed this movie.  I didn’t love it, but I think that has more to do with because I know the folklore, so know what to expect when you base your horror movie on said folklore.  Changeling stories are nothing new, it’s just all in how you frame it and this one was framed very well while not giving away too much in act three and ruining the suspense.  Also, the final scene lets you hold onto some of that feeling with a really good denouement.

Would I recommend THE HOLE IN THE GROUND?  If you have MAX, absolutely, give it a go; there are much worse movies on that streamer.  Is this movie a reason to get a subscription?  Nah.  It was good if you’ve got it, but I wouldn’t suggest anyone seek it out unless you absolutely LOVED what Cronin did with EVIL DEAD and need to see more.

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