Saturday, 18 September 2010

New Release - The Hole 3D

My first encounter with the world of Joe Dante was almost twenty years ago when i caught a glimpse of Gremlins at the tender age of fourAt the time I was horrified, but as I grew up it soon became one of my favourite films, instantly capable of transporting me back to a time when horror films used to scare me. I was hoping that Dante would be able to recapture this magic, and The Hole left me wishing that I was a pre-teen with a wild imagination once again, heading into a horror film for the very first time. This made me very jealous of the younger crowd in the audience as they were clearly stuck fast in their seats, horrified by the visions that unfolded before them - their silence spoke louder than any screams - and desperate for the frightening film to end. 

The nightmare begins when a single sprightly mother, her angst-ridden adolescent son Dane and nervous pre-teen Lucas move into a new house in a strange neighbourhood, only to discover a seemingly bottomless pit locked away under a trapdoor in the basement. Curiosity gets the better of the boys and it is not long before they lower a camera into the mysterious hole in an attempt to film the unknown, but, as video footage shows in one of the films eeriest moments, some things are better left undisturbed. 

After exploring the darkness underneath the trapdoor, the boys begin to be haunted by strange events, with the hole seemingly preying on their individual fears. This provides the basis for a number of scary moments which are quite effective considering The hole is aimed at a younger audience, but it is unlikely to have any impact on those familiar with recent scary films such as [REC] and Paranormal Activity. The story still remains intriguing enough to keep older viewers entertained for the most part, and could well bring back long forgotten memories of their first encounters with the world of the supernatural films. 

Horror fans hoping for a repeat of Gremlins will be disappointed, but that's not to say that The Hole should be dismissed; its constant references to classic horror films cannot replace the darkwarped humour that made Gremlins so watchable, but certainly adds to the experience for fans of the genre. Numerous scenes invoke connections to Poltergeist and The Gate, with the icing on the cake being a homage to the Hands of Orlac - a very under-rated thriller from 1935 - that I imagine will pass by unnoticed by the majority of viewers due to unfamiliarity with the source material, and they all serve to remind us that Dante is  an ardent horror fan and is not afraid  to wear his influences on his sleeve.

As a children's horror film The Hole is excellent but unfortunately it fails to surpass the genre classics such as A nightmare before Christmas and Gremlins due to the lack of appeal to an older audience. The story is fairly entertaining and the references to cult classics are a great addition to the film but they are simply not enough to keep older viewers fully engrossed for the ninety minutes running time. I would definitely recommend this film to families with young teenagers and children eager to be scared, as The Hole is a perfect introduction to horror films for those easily scared, and one of Joe Dante's more accomplished directorial efforts.


If you like this you will enjoy these:

The Gate

Monday, 6 September 2010

New Release - Going The Distance

After a recent resurge in successful and critically well received romantic comedies such as (500) days of summer and the brilliant 'Bromance', I Love you man, I was less sceptical about Going the distance than I would have been two years previously, hoping that Nanette Burstein's directorial debut would continue the trend with a fresh, original take on the genre that would be equally entertaining for both sexes.

Going the Distance is not quite as good as the aforementioned films but still remains fairly enjoyable, despite being overcrowded with cliches and featuring the obligatory story arc that fans of romantic comedies will find all too familiar. Soppy love scenes aside, there were a number of humorous moments that prompted howls of laughter from a number of audience members and even brought a wry smile to my face, which is an impressive feat for any Rom-com. 

Drew Barrymore is Erin, a lonely journalist who encounters Garret (Justin Long), a talent scout for a record company, on the night he is drowning his sorrows after splitting up with his girlfriend. A few drinks later, the singletons find themselves in bed together, with Erin unperturbed by the thin walls separating Garret from his room-mate, despite his attempts to find the perfect soundtrack to accompany their evening, in one of the films more inspired moments. Fast forward six weeks and Erin is due to head back to Los Angeles, putting their relationship in jeopardy, and testing their powers of resistance to the limit.

Whilst the storyline is far from original, the characters and situations feel fresh, with the actors making the most of their roles and breathing life to an otherwise run of the mill story. The pairing of Justin Long and Drew Barrymore was an inspired decision, their on screen chemistry transforms Going the distance into a believable romance, with a supporting cast that enhances their performances by providing the majority of the humour.

Although nowhere near as iconic as the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, Going the Distance ups the ante with a number of risqué moments guaranteed to offend the more reserved members of the audience. Presumably, this is a clever ploy to make the film appeal to fans of comedies such as Superbad and The Hangover, which are both well known for their vulgar but hilarious comedy. The solid mix of romance and comedy proves that when combined with panache, the genres can be perfectly matched, enhancing a films appeal by providing interests for different crowds and broadening the target audience.

Going the Distance is far from groundbreaking but is still a welcome entry to a genre that often sells utterly dire films purely on the inclusion of crowd-drawing big name actors. It definitely surpassed my expectations and is worth a look if you get the chance, fans of romcoms would do well to check this out.


If you like this you will enjoy these:

Goodbye Lenin!
Garden State
(500) Days Of Summer