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The Hole

3.6 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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(Oct 19, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

This suspenseful psychological thriller features hot young stars Thora Birch (GHOST WORLD, AMERICAN BEAUTY), Desmond Harrington (GHOST SHIP), and a hip, edgy cast! When Liz Dunn (Birch) and three of her prep school friends decide to bail on their scheduled weekend field trip and hide in a long-abandoned bomb shelter, they expect to party and hang out. They don't expect someone to lock them in! As anxious hours turn into desperate days, fear and insecurity erupt uncontrollably as their spontaneous adventure turns into a bloody fight for survival! Also starring Keira Knightley (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM) and Embeth Davidtz (THE EMPEROR'S CLUB, BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY) -- you'll find yourself bolted to your seat as the electrifying tale unfolds through Liz's tormented eyes!

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Thora Birch, Desmond Harrington, Daniel Brocklebank, Laurence Fox, Keira Knightley
  • Directors: Nick Hamm
  • Writers: Ben Court, Caroline Ip, Guy Burt
  • Producers: Andrea Calderwood, Bill Shephard, François Ivernel, Jeremy Bolt
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 2004
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000ARD7T
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,847 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Hole" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
As THE HOLE opens, a dirty, dissheveled girl stumbles into town, looking with every step as if she won't make it much further. By the time she finally reaches a phone and dials emergency, she is so traumatized that all she can do is scream.

What we know is this: over holiday, four prep school students decided to have a very private party in an abandoned underground shelter out in the woods. They were down there for eighteen days. But what really happened to them will be revealed gradually over the course of the film as Liz (Thora Birch), the girl from the opening scenes, plays cat and mouse with a psychiatrist (Embeth Davidtz) who is trying to get her to tell her story.

This is a twisty thriller with great acting on all parts. Thora Birch's fake English accent grated on me at first, probably just because I know she's not English, but as the film progressed I didn't notice it so much. It also becomes clear that she was the right choice for this particular role.

The DVD includes director's commentary, in which he talks about sets, censorship, the psychological motivations of the main character, and uses the word "oblique" a lot. It was not exactly lively, but it was moderately interesting. There are also some deleted scenes and an alternate ending. The corpselike image of Keira Knightly on the cover of this release is misleading, as she's hardly the star, though her fans will definitely want to check the film out. (I have seen much more appropriate in-store copies that have Keira and Thora sharing cover space.)
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Format: DVD
Four English prep school students decide to skip a weekend field trip and hide out in an abandoned bomb shelter where they can hang out and party all night long. Sure, this sounds sort of stupid, but these teenagers see it as the best private party of their life, "absolutely extra curricular" as one of them puts it. However, when the weekend is over and the door is supposed to open it does not, and the four find out that they are locked in. Who locked them in? Will they be discovered? Can they find another way out? What will happen when they run out of food and water? How long before they start to turn on each other?

Since the film opens with one of the four stumbling into the deserted school we know that they were down in that hole for eighteen days. However, the expectation that this 2001 film will take us back through those 18 days from start to finish quickly turns out to be a false one. "The Hole" is more of a mystery than a survival drama. The teenager who stumbled into the school, Liz Dunn (Thora Birch), is seeing a psychologist, Dr. Philippa Horwood (Embeth Davidtz), who is trying to find out what happened. Liz tells the story of what happened, but Horwood knows that it is not the truth and that the girl has sanitized it as a way of preserving her sanity. We know the story is not the truth because when the group descends into the bomb shelter director Nick Hamm keeps focusing on a part of the chain ladder that is obviously dangerously week. It plays not part in Liz's story, so we will just have to keep revisiting the story until it does.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Caution: Spoilers Ahead!! You may wish to view the movie and then read this analysis.

I have to credit IMDB for my discovery of this fascinating film, as the number of comments posted about "The Saw" proclaiming it a poor imitation of "The Hole" convinced me to purchase the DVD. Not a particularly hard sell because Thora Birch is rapidly climbing to the top of my most talented actress list; so watch out Mia Kirshner and Sarah Polley.

What I especially like now about this former child actress is her ability to de-tune her sexiness. This allows her to believably-physically play the "plain Jane" to beauties like Scarlett Johansson and Kiera Knightley, while on another level actually being sexier. The appeal of this is that it allows you to imagine that you are the only one in the audience picking up on that other level, thereby making it seem like a exclusive connection.

As has already been much discussed, the trailer for "The Hole" is completely wrong for the movie, making it seem like a slasher film when it a subtle psychological thriller of obsession and misdirection. It illustrates what obsession can produce when taken a step too far. Probably the most chilling scene is the nightclub rest room parody where Liz (Birch) is gleefully prattling on about her seduction of Mike to her girlfriend Frankie (Knightley), utterly oblivious and unconcerned that Frankie is deathly ill.

Another great scene is the one used by the director to set up Liz's friend Martin for the blame, Liz is speaking to Martin about what it is like to love someone but not have them know you exist. Martin says everything with his face as he lets you know that this just how he feels about Liz.
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