Director: Lee Cronin
Talent: Séana Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, James Cosmo, Simone Kirby
Released: 1 March
Right from the opening credits when we see an aerial shot of a sky, road and forest slowly inverted, there’s a sense of heightened expectation about Lee Cronin’s debut horror feature. Sarah (Kerslake) has just moved with her precocious son Chris (Markey) to a secluded country house. She’s hoping to leave a failed relationship behind and start afresh. After Chris briefly disappears, Sarah discovers he’s been near a sinkhole in the forest and the insidious creep begins. An encounter with a mysterious neighbour further compounds her concerns as to who her son really is. However, Sarah’s fragile and medicated state makes us question her reliability and adds to the suspenseful tight-rope upon which the story is predicated. Is she paranoid or has she cause for genuine concern?
Featuring terrific central performances by Kerslake and Markey, who is almost a dead ringer for Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense, The Hole in the Ground is an incredibly accomplished debut feature by Cronin and his co-writer Stephen Shields. The slow build edges tension to the precipice of that hole and Tom Comerford’s (Michael Inside) cinematography is highly effective in conveying the atmospherics – aligning the swirl of coffee cup bubbles and suds in a sink with the gravitational pull of fear. The Hole in the Ground has been acquired by A24 (Hereditary) for US distribution and premiered at the Sundance festival last month, therefore, there are justifiably great expectations that this will be a box-office smash on both sides of the Atlantic. It sets a high benchmark for Irish film releases in 2019.
Words: Michael McDemott