JOHN AND THE HOLE is a new thriller from IFC. It has a lot going for it with Charlie Shotwell as the creepy John. Overall the cast is stellar. Ultimately, it just feels incomplete. It’s a damn shame since many elements work well. Read our full John and the Hole movie review here!
JOHN AND THE HOLE is a new IFC thriller that feels like a survival horror movie at times. It has elements that will feel recognizable if you’ve watched a few very iconic movies. I’ll get back to those later on.
And yes, it does also have a strong Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) vibe to it. Just without being able to really bring it home. The style and vibe are there, but the story doesn’t quite work. The ending (or rather, the side story) just feels incomplete in a way that does not work for me. It’s a damn shame really.
Continue reading our John and the Hole movie review below.
We Need to Talk About Kevin meets Home Alone
There you have it; John and the Hole feels like a hybrid between We Need to Talk About Kevin and Home Alone. And yes, the fact that the main character in both movies is named Kevin is not lost on me.
In this new movie, John has the strange and cold (even sinister) vibe of the main character in We Need to Talk About Kevin and once he’s by himself, acts like in Home Alone.
MOVIES WITH A SIMILAR VIBE
Just as was the case with the two above-mentioned iconic movies, the main character is played perfectly. In We Need to Talk About Kevin, several actors play the title role, but Ezra Miller gives the main performance. He is (as with everything he does) brilliant and you have to watch that Lynne Ramsey movie if you haven’t already.
Charlie Shotwell is mind-blowingly good!
In John and the Hole, Charlie Shotwell is perfect as the creepy and smart kid! You may have seen Charlie Shotwell in the Netflix horror movie Eli or The Nightingale. If you want to really see his range, you should watch Troop Zero right after watching John and the Hole. He is an immense talent and I just hope he’ll continue acting into adulthood. If he does, he will be one of the greatest!
I won’t even say that John and the Hole is his best performance. It is, however, another great performance by him.
Of course, he does also have a stellar cast working with him. His dad is played by Michael C. Hall (aka Dexter himself) and his mom is portrayed by Jennifer Ehle (from the brilliant Saint Maud), And then there’s his sister, who is played by Taissa Farmiga of American Horror Story and The Nun from The Conjuring universe.
Watch John and the Hole on-demand or in theaters
Pascual Sisto is the director behind John and the Hole and I do really like his vibe. Ultimately, the story is what breaks the illusion for me. I loved the ending of John’s story because this feels dangerously realistic to me. I did not care for the side story featuring a little girl and her mother. Or rather, I did love watching it, but I feel like I was only getting part of it.
There is just too much symbolism and meta-layer lost on me in this instance. But again, I loved all the elements. It’s just the overall result that felt incomplete or lacking in ways I did not care for.
For me, the real horror was watching the final scene featuring John embarking on a life where he (in my opinion) is a danger to the rest of the world. But hey, maybe I just watch too much true crime and serial killer portraits. Or just watch the news. Watch this for the acting and the style and the mood. Just don’t get too invested in the second story (which is hard since it’s intense).
John and the Hole is out on-demand and in theaters from August 6, 2021.
Director: Pascual Sisto
Writer: Nicolás Giacobone
Stars: Charlie Shotwell, Michael C. Hall, Taissa Farmiga, Jennifer Ehle
A desperate game of survival unfolds after 13 year old John traps his family in a hole in the ground in this unsettling psychological thriller.