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Irish Film Festival 2019 (Filmgarde)

The Hole In The Ground

Opening Date
28 Mar 2019
PG13 Disturbing Scenes
90 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Lee Cronin
Seána Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, Kati Outinen
Trying to escape a broken past, Sarah O’Neill is rebuilding her life on the fringes of a backwood rural town with her young son Chris. Following the discovery of a mysterious sinkhole in the vast forest bordering their new home, Sarah must battle to unearth if the disturbing changes that begin to manifest in her little boy are a transformation driven by something more sinister and threatening than her own maternal fears.
By Jason Lin  28 Mar 2019
The Hole in the Ground is a horror film based on the age-old premise of families moving into a new neighbourhood, with a well led performance by its cast Kerslake and Markey.
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Many horror films have been made based on the premise of families moving into a new neighbourhood or house. Irish filmmaker Lee Cronin’s The Hole in the Ground plants a young mother Sarah (Seána Kerslake) and adolescent son Chris (James Quinn Markey) in a rural place within proximity of dense woods.
Through specifically crafted shots of the forest and mood-filling soundtrack by Steven McKeon, Lee builds up a brooding sense of dread and mystery progressively across the 90-minute running time. The first scene to imply that something is off comes when Sarah’s SUV encounters her strange neighbour who stood motionless in the middle of the forest trail road.
Following the usual plot thickening, Lee deploys macabre death depiction scenes to further heighten the element of fear within his film and audience. Dying with one’s head buried in the ground, Sarah is troubled by the demise and soon finds out that a darker force is at play.
Observing notable changes in her son, Sarah progressively encounters wild thoughts and illusions involving her son and the surrounding woods. One of such sightings is a huge sinkhole right in the middle of the forest. Not once bringing it up to find out more about its existence, Sarah finds herself subconsciously drawn to the hole.
This is however as far as the technical qualities go as the plot henceforth enters an unfathomable zone. Involving deep ground creatures that are capable of morphing to resemble human beings, many of Sarah’s onscreen behaviour and decisions simply do not make sense.
Looking past the plot hole that may be as deep as the forest sinkhole, The Hole in the Ground is well led by the performance by Kerslake and Markey. The onscreen bond and interactions between Sarah and Chris are notably much appreciated where they are rarely seen in similar horror productions.
Lee’s debut feature might be as strange as its large hole in the forest, but it nevertheless reveals potential in terms of genre techniques. These would be handy for future works involving more proficient story and script.
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