Film Review: John and the Hole

John surveying his hole

As we grow older it seems only natural that we look back at our childhoods through rose-tinted glasses. A time when life was (probably) less complicated and (normally) without responsibilities. Our whole lives were ahead of us and (theoretically) anything was possible. However, for lots of kids, growing up is not a happy experience and many can’t wait to become adults. In the case of John and the Hole, the titular teen just can’t wait.

John (Charlie Shotwell) isn’t exactly what you’d call a normal boy. He lives with his affluent parents (Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Ehle) and older sister (Taissa Farmiga) in their large secluded house. Whilst investigating the woods nearby he discovers and abandoned unfinished bunker. Seemingly without provocation, he drugs them and keeps them imprisoned within it. Meanwhile, John begins to enjoy his newfound freedoms.

John and the Hole is an audacious feature debut. Pascual Sisto’s film is one which will stay with you long after the credits roll. The tone is just so unusual. So eerily offbeat. The extraordinary coldness of the characters. The frigidity of the pacing. The almost psychopathic intensity. The plot itself is almost inconsequential, it’s the angst-ridden adolescent’s dead-eyed stare that will haunt you. Whilst it might frustrate some in its abstruseness, John and the Hole is a striking introduction to an undoubted talent.

John and the Hole is out in select US theatres and on digital from 6 August.

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