The Hole

  • 15
  • Nick Hamm (2001)
  • UK / Fr
  • 98 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Caught in the trap of not knowing how to achieve respectable claustrophobic chills rather than simply descend into trashy psychological horror, this adaptation of Guy Burt's cult novel After the Hole from director Nick Hamm is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, this sly study in teenage angst is a harrowing thriller raising some interesting questions about love-crazed students and the lengths to which they will go to get what they want. But on the other, it's a murky muddle of unbelievable motivations and shaggy-dog daftness that evokes little real empathy. The sole idea is to keep the audience guessing about what's going on right up until the last minute. And the creepy explanation is quite a good one. Yet the slow descent into sleight-of-hand suspense, virtually negating everything that has gone before, strains credibility to breaking point, as posh pupil Thora Birch suddenly reappears after going missing for 18 days and police psychologist Embeth Davidtz tries to find out where she's been and what happened to her three companions. Beginning like a British version of Heathers and using the device of different perspectives, the story offers moody atmospherics and some sporadic thrills. Although the film is initially intriguing, as Hamm makes tense use of the quirky premise, in the final analysis its flaws far outweigh its twisty film noir theatrics.

Plot Summary

Psychological thriller starring Thora Birch and Keira Knightley. In an attempt to avoid a field trip, four pupils from an exclusive school spend three days in a disused wartime bunker. It's a prank that will have a horrific outcome for everyone concerned.

Cast and crew


Elizabeth "Liz" Dunn
Thora Birch
Desmond Harrington
Daniel Brocklebank
Laurence Fox
Keira Knightley
DCS Tom Howard
Steven Waddington
Dr Philipa Norwood
Embeth Davidtz
Emma Griffiths Malin
Mrs Dunn
Gemma Craven


Nick Hamm

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Violence, swearing, sex scenes and nudity.
Available on video and DVD
Released 20 Apr 2001
Certificate 15