Combustible Celluloid
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With: Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Nathan Gamble, Teri Polo, Bruce Dern, Quinn Lord, John DeSantis, Douglas Chapman, Mark Pawson, Peter Shinkoda, Jonathan Bruce, Merritt Patterson, Ali Cobrin, Chelsea Ricketts, Chord Overstreet, Dick Miller
Written by: Mark L. Smith
Directed by: Joe Dante
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for frightening images, violence and some language
Running Time: 92
Date: 28/09/2012

The Hole (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Pit and Run

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Joe Dante was once an "A"-list director (Gremlins), and after several misunderstood misfires, he can barely get movies released, movies like the terrific The Hole. On the surface, Dante's movies are juvenile horrors with some movie-savvy comedy thrown in, but underneath they're among the most subversive entertainments being made today. In The Hole, two brothers, younger Lucas (Nathan Gamble) and older Dane (Chris Massoglia) move with their single mom (Teri Polo) to a house in the suburbs. They meet the pretty neighbor girl Julie (Haley Bennett), and also discover a weird boarded-up trapdoor in their basement. It leads to a seemingly bottomless hole. After looking into it, weird things start happening.

Dante includes many of his familiar touches, such as a surrealistic nightmare room filled with misshapen furniture and windows that will recall images from his segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie. And of course, there are movie-related jokes such as a glove factory called "Gloves of Orlac." Bruce Dern co-stars as the typical creepy old guy who tells the kids, "you shouldn't have opened that door!" (And, to be honest, if it was never meant to be opened again, why put hinges on it?) Dante regular Dick Miller appears as a pizza delivery man. The movie was finished in 2009 and briefly released theatrically (in 3D) in 2012, but people did not seem to care. Hopefully future generations will discover this silly, smart gem.

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