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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Hole: Deluxe Edition
The Hole: Deluxe Edition
Seville Pictures // R // March 12, 2002
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Dvdmode]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 20, 2002 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
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The Movie:

After a time period in the 90's when the independent film market exploded, things have become decidedly slower. While theaters strictly devoted to art house movies have sprung up across the landscape, there are more and more pictures that either don't get distribution or get minor-to-mild distribution and have the studio hardly market them. Most of these films gain a larger audience once they reach DVD. "The Hole" is an interesting case, a terrific thriller with the potential to find a wider audience, but it's only recently been picked up by Dimension films (who still has not set a release date) after playing in Canada and Europe.

The film stars Thora Birch (who is getting more beautiful and more talented with each new film) as Liz Dunn, a pretty girl at a British private school who has just emerged after being missing for eighteen days. She walks into the building, terrified, and eventually starts retelling what happened to a police psychiatrist.

Weeks earlier, Liz and friends Mike (Desmond Harrington), Geoff (Laurence Fox) and Frankie (Keira Knightley) decided to not go on an otherwise boring field trip and, instead, party for a couple of days in an old bunker that's located just off the property in the woods. Martin (Daniel Brocklebank) took them to the area, locked them into the Hole and was supposed to come back in a couple of days to let them out. The couple of days are up - but the door remains locked.

The movie peels back layer upon layer of information, as eventually Martin is arrested and offers a completely different tale of events than Liz. We flash backwards and forwards, as we see the four slowly begin to go into madness due to lack of food and dehydration. The performances from all involved are very good, although Birch really steals the show in the lead, keeping the audience wonderfully unsure of exactly why she's the only one left. Similar to the recent "Session 9", the film does not rely upon the traditional elements of horror, instead focusing more upon characters trapped in a terrible situation and intelligently building tension.

Director Nick Hamm adds to the tension by combining eerily beautiful visals (the lighting and compositions are fantastic) and a somewhat grim, low-key electronic soundtrack. The film does not move as quickly as thrillers usually do, but I found the film consistently involving and entertaining. It's not without some flaws - there are a few plot holes - but it's certainly an intelligent and enjoyable teen psychological thriller.


The DVD

VIDEO: "The Hole" is presented by Seville pictures in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I have had limited experience reviewing Seville titles; last Winter I looked at their DVD of "Lost and Delirious"; the image quality was good, but there were a few spotty problems. Their presentation for "The Hole" is considerably more consistent and reaches a higher general level of quality, which I was often impressed by. Sharpness and detail are often exceptional, as the picture usually boasted very nice depth to the image and a smooth, "film-like" appearance.

Flaws remained minor and appeared infrequently. Some very slight shimmering was visible once or twice, as were a couple of specks on the print used. Otherwise, no edge enhancement or pixelation was seen at all. Colors remained vibrant and well-saturated throughout. Seville really has done a terrific job presenting this stylishly photographed picture. The only other complaint I have is that the layer change at 51:59 is obvious and not very well-placed, although the freeze in the picture at that point almost makes it look like a nice visual choice.

SOUND: "The Hole" was presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 in theaters, but this DVD edition from Seville was not able to include that soundtrack. While a 5.1 presentation would have added considerably to the music and atmosphere of the picture, the 2.0 soundtrack is satisfactory, as the dialogue and music remain crisp and clear, as do the film's occasional sound effects.

MENUS: Seville has included an appropriately haunting animated set of menus. There's also nice transitions between main and sub-menus.

EXTRAS:

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Nick Hamm, who isn't particularly energetic, but he certainly does have a lot of information to share, discussing in-depth the stylistic choices and production details of the picture. A worthwhile listen.

Trailer: The film's trailer, in 1.33:1 full-frame and 2.0 audio.

Deleted Scenes: A series of deleted scenes, presented with rough quality and no alternate commentary, are shown. Most of these scenes aren't particularly interesting and the the ones that are more engaging don't seem necessary. One of the scenes is an bit of an addition to the ending. Overall, there's about 9 1/2 minutes of footage.

Also: Image gallery, cast/crew bios and trailers for other Seville releases, including "Mexico City", "Fourth Angel" and "Eye of the Beholder".

Final Thoughts: "The Hole" is a riveting psychological thriller that contains strong performances and quite a few twists and turns. Seville's DVD edition (which is a Canadian release and can be imported from videoflicks.com) provides very good audio/video quality and a solid helping of supplements. Recommended.
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