John and the Hole (2021) Movie Review


John and the Hole – Slow & Methodical


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.

StoryThe 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.

ThemesJohn 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.


Final Thoughts John and the Hole is slow, disturbing and unsettling throughout.

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