HOLE IN THE GROUND, THE

Sarah (Seána Kerslake, A DATE FOR MAD MARY) moves her precocious son, Chris, to a secluded new home in a rural town, trying to ease his apprehensions as they hope for a fresh start after a difficult past. But after a startling encounter with a mysterious new neighbor, Sarah's nerves are set on edge. Chris disappears in the night into the forest behind their house, and Sarah discovers an ominous, gaping sinkhole while searching for him. Though he returns, some disturbing behavioral changes emerge, and Sarah begins to worry that the boy who came back is not her son. Lee Cronin's exquisitely crafted and sublimely atmospheric feature debut pairs unsettling camera work with a deeply ominous score, while Kerslake delivers an impressively controlled performance as a mother who has centered her strength around protecting her child but finds her devotion overcome by a terrified feeling — that there's an impostor in her house, and he's watching her as closely as she's watching him. (Note adapted from Sundance Film Festival.) DIR/SCR Lee Cronin; SCR Stephen Shields; PROD Conor Barry, John Keville. Ireland, 2019, color, 90 min. RATED R

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90 Minutes
Horror thriller

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