The Hole is a film by Nick Hamm, adapted from the novel After the Hole by Guy Burt (now reissued by Black Swan as The Hole). It was made in 2001 and released in British cinemas on 20 April, 2001. The book's jacket sleeve reads:
It was only supposed to be a bit of fun to round off the term. Rather than joining the geography field trip, a group of sixth-formers embark on what their charismatic mentor Martyn calls 'an experiment with real life'. They are locked in a forgotten, windowless cellar room below the deserted school. When the three days of the experiment are up, Martyn will return and release them. At first it's all a laugh, a game, a joke. But three days pass and Martyn does not come back. The experiment has only just begun...
- Liz Dunn - Thora Birch
- Mike Steel - Desmond Harrington
- Martyn Taylor - Daniel Brocklebank
- Geoff - Laurence Fox
- Frankie Smith - Keira Knightley
- Dr Philippa Horwood - Embeth Davidtz
The film was directed by Nick Hamm and produced by Lisa Bryer, Jeremy Bolt and Pippa Cross. It also features a soundtrack by various artists including Grand Theft Audio, Sonique, Tricky and The Porn Kings.
Synopsis and Spoiler
If you don't want the film ruined for you before you see it, skip the next section.
The film is made up largely of flashbacks. Since it was adapted from the book called After the Hole, the main part of the story actually consists of what happens to Liz (Birch) after the ordeal.
After emerging at last from the Hole, Liz makes it back to her school and screams into a telephone before passing out. She is taken under the wing of a friendly psychiatrist (Davidtz) and gradually tells the story of how her best friend Martyn (Brocklebank) came up with the idea of shutting the group in the Hole - ostensibly to avoid the dreaded field trip but ultimately so that Liz can get the unwitting Mike (Harrington) to notice and fall in love with her.
Liz tells how Martyn didn't come back after three days, and how she and Mike eventually discovered that Martyn was actually trying to get Mike to hate Liz so that Martyn could have her for himself.
After realising that Martyn has planted microphones around the Hole, the group concoct a plan to convince Martyn that Mike really does hate Liz. It works, and after one last night the door to the Hole is opened and the group are set free. Mike belongs to Liz.
What Liz doesn't know, however, is that the police have taken Martyn into custody, and when interrogated he begins to tell them a very different story...
The Hole is a startlingly horrific film that makes full use of its superbly cast actors. Birch, refreshingly, manages to pull off an English accent very well and easily outshines the others. The film is able to horrify even though it doesn't - thankfully - resort to anything even vaguely supernatural, and is an interesting example of how to make scary films again...
It is only fair to say, though, that the reason some of the terror works so well is the use of sound. Watch The Hole at a cinema to get the full effect. Otherwise this is a shockingly good film that is guaranteed to give you nightmares - especially if you're claustrophobic...