Director: Pascual Sisto
Writer: Nicolas Giacobone (Screenplay)
Starring: Charlie Shotwell, Michael C Hall, Jennifer Ehle, Taissa Farmiga, Pamela Jayne Morgan, Lucien Spelman
Plot: A coming-of-age psychological thriller that plays out the unsettling reality of a kid who holds his family captive in a hole in the ground.
Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: John and the Hole starts when social awkward kid John (Shotwell) spends plenty of time alone, discovers a hole near his home, a previously built bunker. John becomes fascinated by the bunker and is getting tired of his home life, he decides to put his family, father Brad (Hall), mother Anna (Ehle) and sister Laurie (Farmiga) in the hole.
As John gets used to life on his own, he continues to feed his family, as they try to piece together why he has done this, with John continuing to plan to keep this life up for anyone that questions it.
Thoughts on John and the Hole
Characters & Performances – John is the 13-year-old boy that has been starting to feel isolated from the world around him, he takes a dramatic decision to try and teach him family a lesson by putting them in a hole in the ground, seeing what it is like to be an adult. He gets into the covering up everything in his life, so nobody starts poking around looking for anything they shouldn’t, while finding himself feeling even more alone in life. Charlie Shotwell does make this character feel distant from anyone else in the world, he keeps everything calm, which is needing in this psychotic performance. Brad, Anna and Laurie are John’s family, they don’t give him the time he would like, which will see them wake up in the hole in the ground, they try to discuss with John why he has done this, but have to just wait for him to come to his senses to get out of the hole. We have three talented stars here in Michael C Hall, Jennifer Ehle and Taissa Farmiga, but it feels like they don’t have that much to do in the film, almost wasting more of the potential they could have to do more with what happens in the film.
Story – The story here follows a young boy that decides to take a drastic step to put his family in a hole in the ground in hopes of trying to learn about being an adult. This is meant to be coming-of-age story, which comes off feeling strange, uncomfortable in each and every scene. It does feel like there is meant to be a life lesson here, but it only ends up feeling like we could have had a lot more, instead of just putting together a string of long sequences that don’t go very far. There is also a side story that is going on, but often feeling out of place for the most part, which does have just as disturbing, while not getting into it enough.
Themes – John and the Hole is a slow burning thriller that has a twisted concept, only it doesn’t seem to get the tension rising. The locations are key, with the hole, showing how being in the middle of nowhere there could be a hole, which could see people trapped in.
JOHN AND THE HOLE, RELEASED IN THE UK AND IRELAND ON 8TH OCTOBER.
Final Thoughts – John and the Hole is slow, disturbing and unsettling throughout.
Director: Nacho Cerda
Writer: Karim Hussain, Nacho Cerda, Richard Stanley (Screenplay)
Starring: Anastasia Hille, Karel Roden, Valentin Ganev, Paraskeva Djukelova, Carlos Reig-Plaza
Plot: An adopted woman returns to her home country and the family home that she never knew and must face the mystery that lies there.
Tagline – 40 years to learn the truth. 24 hours to survive it.
Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Abandoned starts when Marie Jones (Hille) returns to Russia to learn about her real mother, she ends up being taken to a remote location, where she ends up meeting Nicolai (Roden), as the two must learn to trust each other, while dealing with an unknown threat.
As the two learn more about the location, Marie needs to face a reality that Nicolai has started to adjust to, one which will see her questioning why she wanted to learn about her past.
Thoughts on The Abandoned
Final Thoughts – The Abandoned is a horror film that sees a lady return to her birthplace in search of answers about what happened to her parents, only to find herself needing to battle against an unknown threat that has been waiting for her. This is a story that gets into the confusing, while not being confusing states, because it puts nearly everything right in our faces to explain, instead of letting us learn about the truth as we wait to see what happens. The performances in the movie are strong, with the unsettling nature of what is happening to Marie, while the scares come at us at a pace that doesn’t always hit as well as they could.
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