Review: John and the Hole
Cinema: John and the Hole (2021)
Pascual Sisto’s directual debut John and the Hole is one of those weird films, the sort of film you watch, and sort of enjoy, but feel that you’re missing the point, or missing something, somewhere. And whatever it is, its vital to your understanding of the movie.
Online reviews claim it’s a ‘coming of age’ film. I think it’s more of a psychopathic rich kid, having a first go at sharpening his tools.
John (a beautifully vacant Charlie Shotwell) is a 13 year old and lives with his mum and dad (Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Ehle) and sister (Taissa Farmiga) in a wooden mansion in the woods. Mum and dad want him to be good at tennis, he argues with his sister (who is very affectionate towards him) and seemingly has your typical rich kid life.
His dad buys him a drone, and when it gets suck up a tree, he inadvertently finds the titular “hole” in the wood near his home. On retuning home he rifles through his mothers drug drawer for painkillers, takes some and discovers they make you sleep (they are in fact sleeping pills). So far so … ordinary.
John then drugs his family and one by one throws them into the pit.
They awake and not for a second add 2 and 2 together wondering where the missing John is, and as he appears with a plastic bag of food, they don’t shout at the little bastard either.
Time passes and John drives the family car into town, has burgers, plays video games online with a mate and lies to visitors about where his parents are.
They are dirty, pooing in bags and still not furious with John.
Intercut with this story is another tale, of a similarly aged girl, whose mother tells her she’s leaving and she must look after herself.
This really is like an early Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) film, and if it was more violent ala Nico Masterakis. Yes, it’s pretty normal, yet really weird.
Will John let his family die in the hole? Does he actually care? Is it real or is the story with the girl in the real one? SO many questions and NO answers.
John and the Hole will be released in UK & Irish cinemas and on digital on 8th October 2021.
Review by Tina from a streaming link kindly supplied by Vertigo Releasing via Fetch Publicity.