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the hole in the ground

Here's what critics are saying about new Irish horror movie 'The Hole in the Ground'

Fancy a fright this weekend?

IF YOU’RE LOOKING for something to potentially scare the bejsus out of yourself this weekend, The Hole in the Ground is a good shout.

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Directed by Lee Cronin, the story follows single mother Sarah O’Neill (played by Seana Kerslake), who tries to build a new life on the fringes of a backwood rural town with her young son Chris (played by James Quinn Markey).

A terrifying encounter with a mysterious neighbour shatters her fragile security, throwing Sarah into a spiralling nightmare of paranoia and mistrust, as she tries to uncover if the disturbing changes in her little boy are connected to an ominous sinkhole buried deep in the forest that borders their home. 

Spooky, right?

The Hole in the Ground is showing across Ireland now, but if you’re still on the fence as to whether to go see it, here’s the suss from the critics. (As it stands, the movie has 90% on Rotten Tomatoes).

The AV Club said the film’s blunt metaphor may put off some fans of the genre, but it’s still capable of delivering “surface-level shivers”.

The Hole In The Ground finds a somewhat fresh angle on the possessed-kid subgenre [...]  It’s tricky business to process painstaking self-analysis and scream at the same time.”

Stephen Porzio praised the film’s cast in a review for Headstuff.

Kerslake is rivalled only by child actor James Quinn Markey whose performance drums up a lion’s share of the scares.”

Giving an overall rating of 4/5 stars, Donald Clarke wrote in the Irish Times that the flick is “not enormously subtle” or “hugely original, but fulfils its remit as successfully as any recent domestic horror”.

The Hole in the Ground is here to lower the lights, dial up the tension and rest a skeletal hand on your unsuspecting shoulder [...] A strong exercise in a familiar genre.”

Empire gave The Hole In The Ground 3/5, calling Kerslake’s performance “outstanding”. However, it also noted that the film’s plot isn’t the most original, per se. 

A soft-spoken yet chilling domestic horror film that tells its slightly overfamiliar tale effectively, with strong performances, quietly disturbing atmosphere, one or two friendly clichés, and good, old- fashioned scares.”

Closer to home,’s Brian Lloyd called it “strange, stylish and unnerving”.

You could sit and argue about what ‘The Hole In The Ground’ is a metaphor for – the pressures of motherhood, abusive relationships and the fear of passing on abusive patterns, whatever – but Lee Cronin’s direction and the cinematography from Tom Comerford is able to drench the movie in enough terror and keep it going right on through the slower moments.”

The Hole In The Ground is showing in theatres across Ireland.

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