Fans of director Joe Dante's 1980's heyday, hang on to your hats: family-friendly comedy-horror adventure The Hole is a very respectable addition to a body of work that includes The Howling (comedy-horror), Gremlins (family-friendly comedy-horror), Explorers (family-friendly adventure) and The 'Burbs (comedy-horror).
The basic plot is incredibly simple: siblings Dane and Lucas (Chris Massoglia and Nathan Gamble) discover a creepy padlocked trapdoor in their new basement. We'd have absolutely no respect for them if they just left it alone, and they duly pry the thing open, teaming up with their cute neighbour Julie (Haley Bennett) in the process, who sums up the film's basic selling point in one trailer-friendly line of dialogue: "You’ve got a gateway to hell under your house, and that is really cool."
Mixing believable characters with inventive, imaginative thrills and spills, The Hole is a classic, 80s style family adventure with some surprisingly dark moments. Its main nod to more modern cinema is the use of 3D, but it is employed in an enjoyably old-school fashion throughout, heavily recalling early 3D films obsession with objects flying out of the screen. This is not a film embarrassed to use the more theme-park aspects of this much-debated technology - and is all the better for it.
In a nutshell: Not to be confused with the 2001 Keira Knightley movie of the same name, this is scary, thrilling stuff, especially considering there's very little actual violence or gore.