film reel image

film reel image

Friday, August 25, 2023

John and the Hole 2021 * * 1/2 Stars


"I'm just tired". So says the main character of John in 2021's John and the Hole. Obviously John isn't too tired to somehow get his sister, mother, and father down in a 50-foot bunker while keeping them there for days. The flick doesn't really show you the aptitude of it all. Implausible? Yeah you could say that.  

Anyway, John and the Hole is based on a short story called El Pozo. And no, this isn't a sub-genre you would find playing at the AMC. "Hole" is obviously an art film that wants to terrify while showing that it can be artsy-fartsy and niche market at the same time. "Hole's" director (Pascual Sisto) silently turns the psychological screws but those screws aren't completely screwed in and are somewhat ill-defined. 

So yeah, John and the Hole did at times disturb me. And the musical score by Caterina Barbieri (which shows up randomly) has a numbing awareness that evokes synth-like despair. But what is the paradox surrounding this weird little pic that has young John (played by Charlie Shotwell) doing pseudo nasty things to his well-off family? I mean it's not like he has it that bad. 

I suppose John is just an insane teen that needs to be surrounded by a SWAT team and/or put in a mental institution. Helmer Sisto never defines John or his actions, at least not to the viewer. It also doesn't help that John's family is so blase about the brute situation (I'd be screaming mad if I was stuck in that bunker). 

All in all, you'd probably need another viewing just to take in Sisto's almost completely pensive vision. But hey, John and the Hole is not that kind of movie. It's a one-and-done that wipes away any thriller, box office clout. Sure Pascual's film looks clean and his direction is apt. But with an added subplot about a mother and daughter (I suppose they were John's neighbors), John and the Hole has well, "holes". Big ones. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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