Movie Review: THE HOLE IN THE GROUND - Great Horror Thriller Of The A24 Studio

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Movie Review: THE HOLE IN THE GROUND - Photo credit:, Edition by Amber255 via 

The six-year-old film producer filmmaker company A24 and its leaders, Daniel Katz and David Finkel, have again decided to frighten the gullible viewers with not a banal and horribly looking horror thriller called THE HOLE IN THE GROUND, which director has become Lee Cronin, known as a short movie maker.

This time, the A24, which made for the world original, terrible horror genre projects for intelligent cinema viewers as the horror drama The Witch inspired by the old English folklore, the unpredictable and full of tension horror thriller It follows and the psychological horror drama that hit the screen in 2018 Hereditary, invites to not a less interesting story about the struggle of one unfortunate woman and her son with evil.

THE HOLE IN THE GROUND - an intriguing Irish horror movie will appeal to all fans of stories in which the genre direction is intentionally hidden, because the viewer is hinted at the mystical component of obsession, and immediately makes it clear that everything that happens can only be a figment of the sick mind's imaginations of one person.

It always finds new, invariably cinematic ways to nudge us towards its final leap into the abyss. Cronin feels like a real find for our especially insecure moment. 


This time the Irish distinguished themselves, although the theme of the substitution of children is actually folklore and is found not only among them also, I know for sure, among Eastern European people. Specifically, this film touches another topic - the mental health of the main character, perhaps her distorted perception of reality.

I love such movies. Those that carry the meaning. And the meaning of this film is how a mother always feels her child. So, let's watch it!



The Short Story Of The Movie 

Running away from a difficult and painful past, from abusive relationships, Sarah (Seana Kerslake) is coming to a small town where she tries to start a new life with her young son, Chris (James Quinn Markey). New life must begin in the Irish secluded house, on which there is no number plate. Unhappy family life with her husband, literally imprinted on the face of Sarah (behind the bangs, the girl hides an impressive scar), ends, but new problems begin. Rural peace and new people should have a positive impact on both mother and son.

But nothing good can be expected: on the way, the woman meets a strange woman in a hood, whispering something subtle and strange looking at the child. It shakes Sarah and bounces out again. Gradually, anxiety and fear come back with new power. 

Nearby in the forest, there is a huge pit, where the pieces of the earth are falling, and one day, Sarah’s son will go for a walk and return no longer what he was. And the forest with that hole looks straight into the windows of Sarah's house. 


Irish film THE HOLE IN THE GROUND - Photo credit:

The Content Of The Movie

At the very beginning of the review, I mentioned the production studio A24, which specializes in a small budget, but in very intelligent film projects that are clearly not acceptable to the ordinary film lovers. That is why I always urge you to take into account the previous horror movies of this studio, so you just won't be disappointed. These are not standard brought on a plate horror genres films like The Nun or The Call, but projects that make you search for answersAlso, do not forget about the philosophical side of the A24 projects and, of course, the metaphors that make the brain twist to grasp the idea expressed in the film.

So if you didn't like a masterpiece Hereditary that caused many discussions on the internet, and didn't really understand the essence of The Witch, I recommend missing this movie because it reminds me the films I mentioned.  And for those who felt the pleasure of watching these two films, I would definitely recommend getting acquainted with the new horror story told in the film THE HOLE IN THE GROUND.


Irish horror movie - Photo credit:

As in the previous studio's films, here too, attention is paid to the family and its relationships. Here, of course, is not such a huge family, because on the screen we see a difficult relationship between the son and his mother and their desire to be happy. Observing them, we can reveal a number of truths related to the upbringing of children and the efforts of the mother for the welfare of her offspring. 

Only there is one but. There is a place next to their home that is able to change the worldview of one and the other family member with regard to their household. Hallucinations, mistrust, and other strange, varied events that cannot be explained begin.

The truth about the hole in the forest is not too obvious, so the viewer is forced to find the necessary answers to the actual questions while watching this movie. They are scattered throughout the film so wisely that only the attentive viewer will be able to put them together in a single picture to understand the essence of this confusing story. However, this movie has a different nuance than The Witch or Hereditary. Here, the creators give us an obvious end to what could not be said about the two films that had open finals.


The film about a possessed kid THE HOLE IN THE GROUND - Photo credit:

Terrible elements and jump-scares, which in my opinion, have been used responsibly in all the necessary places, and not because of the genre demanded, have become an important and not less essential feature of this movie. So we all know that if there is any problem with the film and its storyline, the creators always add unnecessary frightening elements that look just ridiculous from the side.

So when I was watching this movie, I felt fear, I felt anxious about the hero, and I was clearly involved in a fairly non-standard narrative, which forced me to jump a few times from the chair in the cinema. Therefore, if you delve deep into the action shown and you are 100 percent involved in the story, you will experience really unrealistic horror.

Lee Cronin turned to create a paranoid and frightening spectacle - modest in scope and ambitions but works perfectly as a genre film. And even a thick metaphor seems appropriate. This is an abyss, where you should not look if you do not want to get a back glance. THE HOLE IN THE GROUND  is unlikely to become a new milestone in the development of horror, but amid endless conversations about the intellectual component of cinematic horror may well become a pleasant outlet.


THE HOLE IN THE GROUND review - Photo credit:

 The creators of the cinema should be thanked for the fact that, unlike the majority of filmmakers who worked with the A24, they have the wisdom and talent to explain what is happening, even if with hints. And composed quite convincing ending. If you missed something or did not understand, then just read about the mythical fellow folk who lived in the territory of modern Britain and Ireland.

There is nothing supernaturally intriguing or some kind of sharp turn of events. The film is absolutely smooth and calm, but something caught me in it and interested. Most likely this is the theme of the film - children and their mothers.

But would I watch this movie a second time as I did with other A24 horror movies? Hardly. For me, this is a good but one time movie that works for the first time you watch it. During the second review, I don't think I could be as frightened as I was in the second Hereditary session. 

However, it is still the best horror movie that came to our cinemas in 2019.


Exclusive THE HOLE IN THE GROUND clip - Video credit:

The Personages Of The Movie

The script, written by the director in collaboration with Stephen Shields, of course, does not avoid the clichés inherent in films about creepy children but does not slip into one continuous jump-scare. The child is indeed a creep: before the substitution, he gives the impression of an ordinary little quiet one, and after his face turns into an unnaturally stiff mask.

At night, the boy eats spiders, wanders around the house with obscure intentions, and from behind the door of his room, there is a chilling giggle. Here, of course, we must pay tribute to novice actor James Quinn Markey.

The other center of the story is his mother, Sarah, alive and scared. Injured by her relationship with her husband and the sudden change in the child, she gradually finds strength in herself even to look into the depths of hell. Because of a mentally ill neighbor and a mysterious phenomenon in the forest, the young mother begins to suspect that the child is not her own son. At first, this thought slips into the heroine’s head unobtrusively and briefly, but then suspicions increase, fear grows, and real panic begins.


Movie of 2019: THE HOLE IN THE GROUND - Photo credit:

The woman is convinced that some inexplicable devilry is going on with her son. In her opinion, something terrible was either infused into him, or some otherworldly force simply replaced the body. An unhappy mother tries her best to find out the truth but instead incites others and her own child against herself.

And yet, despite all the circumstances, the woman needs to understand herself: either she is right, and something strange happens to the child, or she became the victim of the strongest self-hypnosis that eventually led to visual and auditory hallucinations.

Sarah is afraid to finally push her child away by showing him her feelings. Children grow up. Their body, character, tastes endure change. And until these changes are completed, the parent may get the impression that they live side by side with those who do not know. So is Chris different or does it just seem? The viewer sees frustration, insecurity, and panic in her eyes and hears her breathing during the night chase. However, despite some doubts, the words of Sarah are hard not to believe.


Irish horror movie - Photo credit:  

The Technical Side Of The Movie

The gloomy color palette, blood-staining images, great actor make-up, and horrible scenery - all of this gives this story a distinctive charm. I am not even talking about the wonderful work of the camera, which not only touched on the details of the storyline, the emotions of the actors but also made it possible to enjoy panoramic views of the main film action.

Thanks to an apt color scheme, almost all the scenes give a distinct earthy flavor. The brownish-dark lighting of the house is combined with a leaden Irish sky and a bare gloomy forest. You cannot feel completely relaxed at any moment in the movie.

Of course, these accents have also bribed me, because sometimes the artistic design and the work of the camera in films can do real wonders. And this miracle also happened.

I was also happy with the soundtrack. Shudder went through the skin from several very freaky compositions that complemented the horrible images on the screen. 

Sound editing also made a wonderful contribution to the overall scare effect. Video editing has been annoyed in several places because the well-developed scenes were interrupted without any meaning or completely incomplete.


Movie of 2019: THE HOLE IN THE GROUND - Photo credit:

The Collective Work Of The Movie

Seana Kerslake, the leading role in this film, perfectly embodies her character. I could see so much in her eyes - fear, joy, despair, loss, and other person-specific feelings, so watching her performance was really nice, although the character itself was a source of stress during the review.

She is unfamiliar to a wide audience, but in her native country, she is called Irish Scarlett Johansson (there is a fleeting external similarity).

With other acting works, everything is also great: the cast consists mostly of Irish people. If to talk about supporting roles, there were some good actors too: young John Quinn, Simone Kirby, Steve Wall, Kati Outinenand others have created an excellent foundation for the main actor, who, thanks to their heroes, managed to unfold from various perspectives. 


THE HOLE IN THE GROUND review - Photo credit:

On The Final Note

Director and screenwriter Lee Cronin made a good atmospheric movie that looks and sounds decently. It is worth noting that this film is his debut in a big movie, so for the first time, everything was done quite well. In any case, the film deserves attention. On the technical side, everything looks convincing, high-quality and professional, and the actors are organic and natural.

THE HOLE IN THE GROUND is another quality and mature project of the production company A24, which, like previous projects belonging to their horror genre, is able not only to frighten but also to instantly involve you into the story decorated by various metaphors thanks to a non-standard storyline.


THE HOLE IN THE GROUND review - Photo credit:

 If you do not look at individual small plot gaps, then THE HOLE IN THE GROUND is a good atmospheric horror, let it be slow and rather long. But emotional, lively, and in places truly creepy. In short, this Irish horror movie cannot be ignored by fans of the genre, even if these fans are watching only exceptionally expensive studio movies.

The Hole In The Ground finds a somewhat fresh angle on the possessed-kid subgenre.


My rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 89/100
Metacritic: 63/100
Critics average: 5.4/100
IMDb: 5.8/10  



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