Something nasty is lurking in the forest in what might be the most frightening film of the year, a nerve-jangling mix of The Witch and Hereditary, from a formidable first time director.
Sarah moves her precocious son Chris to a secluded new home in a rural town, trying to ease his apprehensions as they hope for a fresh start after a difficult past. But after a startling encounter with a mysterious new neighbour, Sarah’s nerves are set on edge.
Chris disappears in the night into the forest behind their house, and Sarah discovers an ominous, gaping sinkhole while searching for him. Though he returns, some disturbing behavioural changes emerge, and Sarah begins to worry that the boy who came back is not her son.
A bold and brilliantly constructed cross between Pet Sematary and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the debut feature from writer-director Lee Cronin is a genre game changer that masterfully builds the tension, delivers the frights and leaves the audience reeling.
Cronin elicits terrific performances from a brilliant cast, particularly Seána Kerslake (A Date For Mad Mary) as a single mother driven to her wits end, and a wonderfully unnerving James Quinn Markey (from the TV series Vikings) as her son, who might not be what he seems after his disappearance in the forest. Also appearing are Simone Kirby (Peaky Blinders), Steve Wall (also from Vikings) Eoin Macken (from horror films Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, The Forest) and veteran character actor James Cosmo (Highlander, Braveheart).
Beautifully filmed in the misty, mysterious Irish countryside, and with an ominous, powerful score Stephen McKeon (Black Mirror) that recalls the rank dread of The Witch, The Hole In The Ground is a startlingly assured first film that marks Cronin as a name to watch. Following in the footsteps of acclaimed Irish horror like The Hallow, Wake Wood and Isolation, this is a surefire scarer that’ll chill you to the bone.
“A masterclass in crafting terror and striking frights… a strong contender for horror film of the year!” Starburst
“Say hello to the first great horror of 2019” ★★★★ Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy
“Sends shivers down your spine from beginning to end… very very creepy” Fortean Times
“Brilliantly ominous and unnerving” Any Good Films
“Creepy and moving” DMovies