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Film: The Hole

Desperate to get in. Dying to get out.

This 2001 British thriller is about a young woman, Liz, who mysteriously reappears after having vanished from her private school for 17 days. A young psychiatrist takes on her case and finds out a disconcerting truth about what happened to Liz and what happened to the other three students (Mike, Geoff and Frankie) who also went missing at the same time Liz did...

Based on the novel After the Hole by Guy Burt, the film starred Thora Birch as Liz, Keira Knightley as Frankie, Embeth Davidtz as Dr Phillipa, Laurence Fox as Geoff and Desmond Harrington as Mike.

Not to be confused with another work called The Hole, which is a gay porn parody of The Ring; Holes by Louis Sacher; or The Hole (2009).


This film series provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abuse Is Okay When It's Female on Male: Played with. Annoyed that Mike is paying attention to Frankie, Liz pulls him off her and hits his head off the wall. Mike says "Are you fucking nuts?" while Geoff and Frankie clap.
  • Adults Are Useless: In this case Liz knows their uses and manipulates them for her own ends.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Geoff though he turns out to be alright after all.
  • Cerebus Callback: In Liz's version of events the group make up a fake scenario to fool Martyn. The scene is done comically but then when We see the real story the same things they used appear again such as Frankie getting sick (and eventually dying), the water going off and everyone ganging up on Liz.
  • Chekhov's Gun: We get some very obvious zoom ins of the old ladder rocking when people climb up and down but it doesn't come into play until the very end when Mike jumps on it to catch Liz, causing it to break and stab him.
  • Closed Circle: The bunker thanks to Liz.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Mike.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Mike and Liz have to sit in the same room and try to sleep while Frankie and Geoff go at it. Geoff then has to endure the same another night with Mike and Liz.
  • Cool Loser: Liz is apparently this at first. Then it turns out she's a psycho Alpha Bitch.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Played for Laughs. After Liz's failed attempt to get Mike to notice her, she comes into Martyn's room and plops herself on the couch to draw an obvious parallel with a psychologist's office. Which adds another layer of humour when you realise that's actually where she really is as she's telling the story.
  • Downer Ending: It was all Liz's fault; she held herself, Frankie, Mike and Geoff hostage because she wanted Mike to fall in love with her, and caused Frankie's death, and had Mike murder Geoff because of what he thought to be the last can of stuff to drink they had; Mike found out about Liz when he woke up to see her opening the door of the "hole", he angrily climbed up the stairs to wring her neck and unfortunately ended up getting killed. The psychiatrist knows the truth, but Liz managed to set a trap on her and to pin the blame on somebody else - Martyn, who she has drowned right after hiding the key in his pocket. And in an Alternate Ending We saw her beginning another obsession, now with long blonde hair and calling herself 'Beth'.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Liz shows genuine remorse for Frankie's death and actually was planning to open the bunker the night she died.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Liz attempts to invoke this thinking Mike will fancy her and so dyes her hair blonde. Then she notices that she's literally surrounded by blonde bimbos trying to get Mike's attention.
  • Fake Brit: Thora Birch (American) as Liz
  • Faux Horrific: After the hair dyeing scene mentioned above we see something red spilling into the bath. It turns out Liz just dyed her hair back.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The book is based in a thinly-disguised version of Charterhouse, where the author was a student.
  • The Ghost: Mike's ex-girlfriend Amber.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Frankie.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Keira Knightley, Thora Birch, Embeth Davidtz and Desmond Harrington.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with Liz stumbling into the school after getting out of the bunker.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: After Liz reveals to Mike that she locked them in order to make him fall in love with her, Mike curses her and threatens to kill her. Before he can get to her, the ladder which he's climbing on breaks and stabs him in the chest.
  • Jerk Jock: Mike and Geoff
  • Karma Houdini: Liz. She trapped her friends down to the hole so she could get Mike to fall in love with her. When that didn't work, she pins the blame on Martyn by hiding the key in his pocket. And she gets away with everything.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Frankie in Liz's story. Then we see the real story and she's a typical Alpha Bitch.
  • Make Way for the Princess: Frankie's character introduction.
  • Manipulative Bitch : Liz again
  • Manly Tears: Geoff and Mike when Frankie dies. Martyn also has a big breakdown.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Mike when he murders Geoff in a fit of rage.
  • Plenty of Blondes: Played for Drama as Liz nearly has some kind of anxiety attack when she sees herself surrounded by blonde bimbos all determined to catch Mike's eye.
  • Police Are Useless: Played with. The majority of police in the film just seem to want to pin the case on Martyn even when he's actually innocent. The police psychologist is the only one who actually investigates further into the case.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Frankie.
  • Red Herring: Martyn.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The psychiatrist knows Liz is being this one when her story has a happy ending, given the fact that all the other kids in The Hole with her are dead. Though she doesn't know that the reason for the inconsistent story is because it's all Liz's fault.
    • This is even more true in the book, since the entire thing is from Liz's perspective, and we only get a hint of the truth at the end in the doctor's letter, which makes an reference to Liz being "the only survivor."
  • The Reveal: Liz had the key.
  • Tempting Fate: Lampshaded as Frankie tells the boys to stop saying 'what if something happens to Martyn and later blames them when he doesn't turn up. In the first version of the story anyway.
  • The Tease: Frankie. And unfortunately for Geoff, he's looking away when she decides to actually flash him.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted initially as the police therapist guesses early on that Liz is making her story up but then played straight when she's unable to stop Liz from getting caught.
  • Throw It In: Frankie saying "go!" to the little boy while on the phone was ad-libbed by Keira Knightley.
  • Trailers Always Lie: This might be the prime example; this trailer promotes the movie like it's some kind of Slasher Movie when it's clearly not. This may have been in the interests of making Martyn seem a more convincing Red Herring.
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: Liz.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Mike is definitely set on outright killing Liz when he finds out what she's done. He doesn't get very far however.
  • Yandere: Liz. She trapped the others in the hole so she could get closer to Mike.

Hedwig and the Angry InchFilms of 2000 - 2004 How High
The Adversary CycleHorror LiteratureAgent Pendergast

alternative title(s): The Hole
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