Home » The Hole (2009) is Family Friendly Terror [Retrospective]

The Hole (2009) is Family Friendly Terror [Retrospective]

Dane (Chris Massoglia) and Julie (Haley Bennett) in Joe Dante's family friendly horror The Hole 2009.
Dane and Julie in The Hole 2009.

After relocating, brothers Dane and Lucas discover a bottomless pit in the basement of their new home. The endless cavern knows their worst fears and uses them to torment the boys. While Lucas and Dane attempt to solve the mystery of the giant, never ending hole in their basement, whatever lurks in that hole grows more and more unruly and the boys safety becomes more and more uncertain. 

I’m almost always a fan of Joe Dante (Gremlins) and The Hole is no exception. Dante serves as the film’s director and is successful in creating a highly atmospheric production. Atmosphere is particularly important because of the film’s PG-13 classification. As such, The Hole is limited to that which can be deemed appropriated for a 13-year old. Fortunately, Dante is a master of atmosphere and he more than makes up for the absence of a body count or arterial spray by scaring the hell out of his audience.

The Hole is deliberately paced and gradually builds to a grandiose conclusion that will not leave audiences disappointed.

Mark L. Smith (Vacancy) is responsible for the screenplay. And for the most part, it works. There is some dialogue that makes Smith seem a bit out of touch with today’s youth but as a whole, the script lends itself to a smooth transition to the screen.

I’m not always a fan of child actors, in fact, I’m usually not a fan, but the young cast of this film did a pretty good job of carrying the feature. Chris Massoglia (Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant) is great as Dane. And Nathan Gamble is (The Mist) very good as Lucas. Hayley Bennett (The Haunting of Molly Hartley) also turns in a fine performance. She is refreshing as the sassy girl that lives next door. The young cast works well together to keep the film moving and their peril is believable.

The Hole is a great segue for horror-loving parents that want to share their love of the macabre with their children without scarring them by exposure to something too mature for their age group. There are plenty of jump scares and things that go bump to keep the audience on their toes throughout the film’s runtime but there’s nothing  that is sexually explicit or so overtly violent that it renders the film inappropriate for children. Kids that are old enough to differentiate between fantasy and reality will have a fun time with this picture.

The Hole received very little marketing exposure at the time of its release; so if this title passed you by, give it a chance. It’s a fun, family friendly, film with some legitimate scares that won’t scar your children (too badly). It is available on DVD now.


Director(s): Joe Dante
Writer(s): Mark L. Smith
Stars: Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett
Year: 2009
Studio/ Production Co: Bold Films
Budget:  $12 Million
Language: English
Length: 92 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Supernatural Horror

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dog, and cat hat(s).
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