Despite copious swearing and a corporate rock soundtrack, The Hole might, more appropriately, have begun with a title sequence of silhouettes cavorting in front of a fiery backdrop; it owes far more to Tales of the Unexpected than the slick US teen movies (I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty) it tries so hard to imitate. This British horror flick displays the same cheap production values as the 1970's series, but rather than staying within the confines of a half-hour TV slot, The Hole stretches its thin, but promising, premise over 90 minutes.
Based on Guy Burt’s novel, the story follows three rich kids from an exclusive English boarding school who avoid their school field trip by hiding out in an underground bunker. Liz (a suitably embarrassed Thora Birch) tags along for the ride in the hope that she may consummate her crush on Mike Steel (Desmond Harrington), the school's resident American hipster. They are then left imprisoned, which should be the cue for The Breakfast Club Goes Insane but isn’t, as director Nick Hamm eschews the straightforward in favour of clumsy flashbacks and contrived plot twists, robbing the film of any tension or shock and turning it into a tiresome stretch in the company of four very disagreeable stereotypes.
The Hole is a witless movie, entirely lacking the self-referential humour and technical skill of its better American counterparts. If you want classic British horror, try Peeping Tom or The Wicker Man instead. The Hole is a movie that may be set deep underground, but ultimately it’s a very shallow experience.
On the DVD: the extras add nothing to this movie. The theatrical trailer and widescreen 2.35:1 ratio come as standard. Of the nine deleted scenes the original coda for the end of the movie is the only one worth seeing purely because it is so ludicrous. Director Hamm's po-faced commentary sheds little illumination into this deep, dark hole. --Tom Nash