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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Hole

Okay, so last week's slasher was a fun, silly romp. This week, we have a somewhat grim movie,The Hole, about 4 teens trapped underground for a month. Did I dig it? Was it the pits? Read this SPOILER-filled breakdown to find out!

The movie opens on a young woman(played by Thora Birch) wandering down a deserted street. For some reason, the street and the bushes that flank both sides of it are littered with paper. A partial close-up of one of the sheets reveals that they are posters concerning 4 missing students. Gee, I wonder if it's the 4 kids I told you about in the previous paragraph?

The girl begins to run faster when she sees her school up ahead, and another poster confirms that she is indeed one of the teens. She manages to get inside the school, limps down several corridors, and spies a payphone. When she dials for assistance and a person on the other end offers help, the girl screams. The girl then collapses, after saying "help" a few times.

The credits start up, as we see an ambulance and other emergency workers and law enforcement officers arrive. In addition to Thora Birch, the cast includes Desmond Harrington(Wrong Turn, Ghost Ship), Keira Knightley(from the Pirates movies), and Embeth Davidtz(13 Ghosts, Army of Darkness).

The girl, Lizzie, is treated to by doctors(including them using a rape kit to determine if she was assaulted), then meets a shrink, Dr. Horwood. The doc tries to engage Lizzie in some friendly banter, but fails. Then she tries out a breathing exercise, and the flashbacks begin...

Lizzie begins by introducing us to everyone who was involved in the disappearance: First up is Martin, a nerdish guy who tries to manipulate the other more popular students by preying on their vanity; Mike Steel, an athlete who has a rock star for a parent(and whom Lizzie secretly has a crush on; Geoffrey, Mike's closest friend; and Frankie, a supermodel-hot classmate that Liz seems to get along with, despite having nothing in common with her.

Liz dyes her hair blonde to attract Mike, but gets paranoid delusions that the other students are laughing at her, so she dyes it back to the original color. Then Liz decides to show up in Martin's room to bitch and moan. Desperate to win her love, Martin tells her that he can help her. He approaches Mike, Geoff and Frankie with an offer of a place to party for school vacation...if they bring Liz along. Then Martin hacks into school computers to make it look as if the group would be on a class trip.

He brings the quartet out to the woods, teases them a bit about their destination, then reveals that they're stand right over the entrance. It's a hatch, where a tunnel leads to an old bunker from World War II. After Frankie reveals some issues with claustrophobia, Geoff offers to enter the hatch first. He's followed by Mike, who only goes in because he doesn't want to wimp out in front of the girls. Frankie finally decides to go next, and Liz goes last, after thanking Martin for arranging the party.

Once they're all inside, Martin shuts the hatch and walks away. Frankie panics in the dark, until the guys fumble around and get the electricity running. Once lit up, the place looks huge. They all start to set up their stuff and party their asses off, except for Liz, who just stands back and watches Mike with googly, starstruck eyes. Yeesh.

When they start to get hungry, Geoff offers to cook some noodles that he brought along. Mike apparently "forgot" to bring enough food for the 3-day weekend, and Liz jumps at the chance to share some of hers. Frankie decides to be the odd woman out, explaining that she's on a diet.

During the meal, the brainiacs decide to scare each other with stories. Geoff proposes that the scariest thing would be that something happens to Martin, and they never get out of the hatch. The 2 guys laugh, but Frankie decides that if something DOES happen to Martin, it will be because Geoff jinxed him.

At that point, Horwood interrupts to ask Liz what happened at the end of the weekend, when Martin was supposed to return to the hatch. The flashback reveals that the quartet were all packed and ready to go back to the school, but Martin never returned. They decide to see if they can get cell phone reception right under the hatch, and Geoff volunteers to climb up the ladder to try one out.

When that plan goes bust, the group gets kind of frantic, and they try just shouting for help. After that, tempers flare, and we get a montage of different ways they all crack under pressure. That night, as the others sleep, Liz spies a strange phenomenon in the window of the hatch. The light coming through the window seems to be blocked every so often, as if someone outside was walking over the hatch. She takes her flashlight and aims the beam of light at the small window, and now I have this whole movie figured out!

They're on Lost, living in Desmond's hatch. The light is Hurley and Locke, out looking for Jack, or a polar bear, or a Smoke Monster or some other bullshit. And after several years, none of it will matter or make sense.

No? Okay then, instead Liz decides to briefly shine her light on Mike. After she switches her flashlight off again, Mike opens his eyes, revealing that he was awake the entire time. Creepy.

The next day, they decide to formulate a plan to survive until help arrives. The working theory is that Martin is either holding them in the hatch for money, or that he might have been injured, and unable to come back. To make things worse, they realize that the search could lead rescuers anywhere in the world, since the airport is so close by.

At that point, Liz describes Martin as jealous of his wealthier classmates, and the doctor leaves to have the investigators put out an APB for his arrest. Horwood even gives them a psychological profile to work with, based mostly on what Liz has told her.

Liz is told about the manhunt for Martin, and Liz wishes out loud that they would put him a small, dark cell, to show him how it feels. Then she gives Horwood a creepy smile. Yeesh, remind me to never piss this girl off!

A video camera is set up, and Liz resumes her narrative once more. It's nighttime again, and Liz shines her light on the others while they sleep. She finds Mike sitting up and staring directly at her, so they decide to talk. Mike crosses the room, then crawls under the blanket next to Liz.

She tells Mike that she thinks that Martin is somehow monitoring their actions. Liz mentions seeing someone moving around above them, then says that Martin is doing it to humiliate her in front of Mike, because of her crush. Instead of comforting her, Mike gets kind of pissed off, and blames Liz for their confinement.

After Mike calms down, he takes another look at their surroundings. He finds a speaker on the wall, then several more. He and Liz wake up the others, and they stage an argument for Martin to hear. Holding up cue cards, Liz choreographs the fake fight, and it's as bad as it sounds here. And Martin never shows up, so it's easily the dumbest scene in the movie.

Then Liz changes her story, saying that the door to the hatch was mysteriously open again on the following morning. As they all emerged from captivity, Mike hugged Liz and proclaimed, "You saved us. You saved us."

Of course, none of that happened. Liz is several apples shy of an orchard, so Doc Horwood gathers up her stuff and leaves Looney Liz alone. Horwood waits until she gets outside the building to call the lead investigator. She tells him that Liz is unreliable as a witness, and he promises to get the truth out of Martin, who has been arrested.

Martin is pretty smug, even while being questioned. He tells them that they have no DNA evidence, no fingerprints, no images of him on security cams, and no witnesses that saw him locking the teens inside the hole. Martin even gives the authorities a breakdown of his entire schedule on the day the others first disappeared.

Then the female cop questioning Martin lowers the boom...she tells him that Liz has been found alive, and that her story differs from his. He responds that he was framed by Liz, because she hates him. While this is going on, Dr. Horwood is driving Liz home, but the movies returns to the interrogation room before anything really happens.

Anyway, Martin's version is verrrrrry different from the tale that Liz told. He claims that Frankie and Liz are best friends, and that Liz hangs out with all of the popular girls. In his story, Liz and Frankie knew about the hatch beforehand, and made him go along with the underground weekend party idea. Frankie supposedly had the hots for Geoff, so he was invited as her date, and Liz could get comfy with Mike. Oh, and Frankie delivered the "invitation" by walking into the boy's locker room and asking Geoff to go along with it as he was standing in front of her naked. Geoff finds Mike later that day, and uses Mike's vanity against him, making him agree to tag along.

Martin denies locking them in, however, so it's still his testimony against Frankie's. The male cop in charge of the investigation calls Dr. Horwood, and demands instant access to Liz. Horwood refuses, and promises better results from the therapy sessions.

The next time they meet, the shrink accidentally tells Liz that Martin is getting released from police custody. Liz pitches a fit and runs away. Somebody wake me up if someone dies. Especially if it's me. Liz walks down a dark corridor at what looks like her school, and sees Mike walk by. It's not really him though, it's only a vision. That doesn't stop Liz from hiding around the corner, though, breathing heavy and looking jittery and frightened.

Liz goes back home, where she smokes a cigarette and flips through a magazine. This leads into another flashback, in which Martin and Liz plan the weekend party together while examining the hatch. This leads into another montage showing the quartet partying again. Once everyone is either drunk or stoned(or both), things start to get kinky.

Mike tries to lure Frankie into having sex with him, Frankie refuses, then drunkenly stumbles over to Geoff, who has been watching Mike fail to win over Frankie with his charms. Before long, they're making out, and Liz is watching. As Liz looks on, Frankie, Geoff and Mike decide to have a little 3-way action. They more or less forget about Liz, so she just stands there, feeling like the proverbial third wheel.

She eventually decides to walk away, but not before she pulls out some of Mike's hair. He starts to insult Liz and swear at her, so Frankie and Geoff also taunt her. After Liz leaves the room, Frankie announces that the menage a trois is over. She leaves the main area as well, then flashes her tits at the boys. Mike saw the show, but Geoff missed it. It was good Geoff. It was good.

Liz gets busy smoking and being pouty. Soon after that, everyone goes to bed. Geoff tiptoes over to Frankie's spot, and tries to get into her pants again. They get so loud that Mike starts to complain, leading Liz to tell them all to shut up. She and Mike exchange glances, and Liz pulls her sleeping bag open, to offer him some sex as well. He just gives Liz a look of disgust, then rolls over and tells her to get some sleep too.

Back in the present, Liz trashes her magazines. The theory among the cops is that Liz somehow picked the lock to make her escape. Uh, say WHAT?? A teenaged girl who quivers over a dumb jock has the skill needed to pick a lock that's also a deadbolt. Bull. Shit. You. Stupid. Movie.

And by the way, this is a blog about slasher flicks. Does anyone ever die in this thing? I'm having my doubts. Someone had better die soon, or I'll find the film crew and start my own slasher. Nah, I'm just kidding...or AM I????

In the following scene, Doc Horwood watches as a smug-looking Martin gets into a car and waves at her. She asks a female cop(who conducted some of the interrogations to go down into the underground bunker to look for clues to clarify the events that occurred during the weeks that Liz and the others were down there.

In the next flashback, Mike is angrily packing his stuff and determined to find another exit. Liz decides that's what she wants to do as well. Then Frankie also votes to leave. Uh, this is all well and good, but you won't be going anywhere until you actually find another escape hatch. Dunbasses.

As Mike starts to climb back up to the hatch(???), he informs Liz that he intends to patch things up with Amber, the girl he broke up with at the start of the film. He starts to climb the ladder, then Geoff reminds him that he left a bag of weed behind. Geoff and Frankie beg him to stay, while Liz tries to sneak up to the hatch by herself.

Rocket scientists that they are, Liz and Mike find the hatch sealed up tight. Uhhhh, didn't we go over that already? Anyway, Liz climbs back down, so that Geoff can try it for himself. Then everyone starts to blame Liz, because they sort-of, maybe, kinda remember that she was the last person to get in, and that she slammed the hatch shut. While Liz decides to hide from the others, they find the door to an escape tunnel they were informed of earlier in the movie. Sadly, that door also won't budge.

At the crime scene around the hatch, the foresic team is having a hard time gathering useful evidence. There's a ton of DNA left in the hole--so much so, that it'll take the investigators months to sift through all of it. Where's Gil Grissom or Horatio Cane when you need them?

Alone at home, Liz tries to find something to eat, and picks up a cookie jar. Martin suddenly appears at the front door, and boy is he pissed off! Liz run out through the back door, after dropping the cookie jar, and Martin chases her through the wooded area behind her house.

They square off on a bridge overlooking a reservoir or dam, and Martin grabs Liz by her upper arms, forcing her to face him. He tells Liz that she ruined his life by naming him as the perpetrator, and she replies that he should have kept his mouth shut. The plot thickens...which is a good analogy, because this monstrosity is a slasher flick as much as I'm Batman...and it's thick like sludge.

So, back to London Bridge. *YAWN* While Martin is busy shouting at Liz, the shrink drives up to the house. Horwood finds the broken container on the floor, and Liz upstairs crying her eyes out. Liz is rocking back and forth on her bed, and she hugs the doctor when she sees her. After some more hysterics and begging, the shrink agrees to help Liz find a safer place to live. Uh, where the heck is Martin?

When Horwood tells Liz that she wants to hear the entire truth, Liz claims that there are still gaps in her memory, and that she's been getting confusing flashes of the events that transpired during the month of confinement. She tearfully begs the shrink to let her go back to the hole, to see if it jogs her repressed memories.

As Liz leads Doc Horwood past the crime scene tap and into the hatch, the other investigators get a phone call about Martin. They all rush out of the office, hop into their cars, and speed off to parts unknown. Did he go on a killing spree? Was he jaywalking? Do I care?

The flashback resumes, right at the point where Mike stepped off of the ladder to grab his weed stash. Liz climbs up, just as she did in the previous flashback, only this time, there's an actual plot twist: she has a key to the hatch!

Liz steps back down after locking the hatch, then stands back to watch the others freak out. When she's positive that none of them are watching her, Liz hides the key in her shoe. Then they discover that the water pipes are no longer giving them anything. They gather their entire water supply, then Geoff gives them a lesson in dehydration, and how it could kill them if they run out of their meager supply. When they do run out, they have 3-4 days left to live. Fun!

Liz starts to shed some crocodile tears, and they all rush over to console her. What follows that is yet another montage, in which we see them try to survive on small rations of water as the days and weeks pass. As Liz watches Mike while he sleeps, she hears someone moving around above them. He wakes up too, but doesn't hear the noise.

As Liz confesses doing all of this to the others, there's anothner flashback. Mike approaches Liz and kisses her, and then they start to get into some serious making out. Geoff wanders in, sees them, and interrupts to tell them that Frankie is very sick all of a sudden.

Liz finds Frankie puking into the toilet, and goes on and on about what a great kisser Mike is. Right about now would be a great time to hear the song "Crazy Bitch". When she finally notices that Frankie is gagging and puking her guts out, she offers Frankie a few feeble words of encouragement.

That evening, Liz and Mike screw like bunnies while Geoff tries to get some sleep. Later that same night, Liz decides to walk around. She calls Frankie's name, but there's no response. When Liz finds Frankie, she screams.

Geoff and Mike wake up and come running over to Liz. They see Frankie's body on the floor, with blood caked around her mouth. Geoff accuses Liz of killing her, then tries to perform CPR on the corpse. When that fails, he sobs and hugs her body close to his.

They wrap the body in plastic and drag her to a small room off to the side. After confessing to murder, Liz tells the shrink not to look at her in such a judgemental way. The autopsy of young, naked Keira Knightley's

Wait, I seem to have lost my train of thought. What was I doing?

Oh, right. Autopsy. The medical examiner determines that the cause of death was heart failure. Back in the past, Geoff again blames Liz for Frankie's death, because the weekend getaway was her idea in the first place. Mike comes to her defense and assures Liz that she had nothing to do with Frankie's death(HA!), and Geoff eventually apologizes to her.

In the very next scene, Liz almost tells Mike about her key. What stops her? Well, it turns out that Geoff has been hiding extra food, and they both hear him open a can of either beer or soda. Mike tackles him to the ground, then bashes his head against the floor until he's dead. 2 down...

After he realizes what he's done, Mike breaks down. Unlike Frankie, they don't bother to cover Geoff or drag him out of the main chamber. As Mike takes big swigs from one of Geoff's stashed beverages, Liz proposes that they make a suicide pact before the dehydration gets into the later stages, but Mike argues that Geoff's supplies can hold them for a few more days. As she prepares to slit her wrist, Mike tells her that he loves her. Liz drops the knife and tells him the same.

Manipulative bitch that she is, Liz waits for Mike to fall asleep, then climbs up to the hatch for the final time. She takes a breath of fresh air, then Mike wakes up and confronts her. She admits that her plan was to make him love her, and he flies off the proverbial handle.

He tries to climb the ladder to get to Liz, but the chain ladder breaks. Mike falls to the ground, and gets impaled by the metal post the ladder was attached to. Liz watches him die, and begins to sob. She tells Dr. Horwood that it's better that Mike died, because now he can be youthful and perfect forever.

After her confession, Liz is told that she needs to tell her story again, to the investigators, but Liz refuses. When Horwood mentions that Martin could testify against her, there's another flashback of the scene where Martin confronted Liz on the bridge. He yelled at Liz about all of the lies she told, then dropped to his knees on the edge of the bridge. When he let go of the railing, Liz pushed him into the water.

After making THIS confession, the cops arrive. Liz rushes over to the police, and immediately concocts a story about how Dr. Horwood lured her into the hole with intent to harm her. Martin's body is fished out of the water, and they find a key to the hatch in his pocket.

As Horwood realizes that the cops believe Martin's death is a suicide, she stands by herself and watches Liz interact with several officers. Liz turns to look back at her, and smiles. The smile vanishes, and she goes back to pretending to be a victim. THE END.

Eh. I've seen worse, but I've also seen MUCH better films. Despite how scary it sounded on Netflix, it was about as far from a slasher as you could get. Even the four deaths were pretty poor...I'm still not entirely sure why Frankie's mouth was drenched in blood when they found her corpse, or how Liz was planning to get away with 4 murders without anyone from forensics uncovering her DNA all over the bodies(of Martin and Frankie, at least). Plus how would she explain to them how she got out??? I'm sorry, but picking the lock is a stupid explanation. 2 out of 5 killer trees for The Hole, and one of those points is purely for Keira Knightley's topless scenes.

And what did I learn after watching this one?

-Keira Knightley pretty. Me like.

-It's common practice to get someone to confess to murder, and forget to record it or have witnesses hear it too.

-Teen girls with mood swings are always believed more than psychiatrists who have a solid, professional reputation.

My next movie by mail is Tourist Trap, a freaky '80's slasher that seemed to be a major influence on the Paris Hilton remake of House of Wax. Not sure when I'll get to it, because I'm having surgery tomorrow, but I'll get to it as soon as possible. Have a good week!