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Film / John and the Hole

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John and the Hole is a 2021 Psychological Thriller directed by Pascual Sisto.

A teenage boy, John (Charlie Shotwell) holds his parents Anna (Jennifer Ehle) and Brad (Michael C. Hall), and his older sister Laurie (Taissa Farmiga) captive in a hole in their garden.

It was released on August 6, 2021, after being shown at Sundance on January 29.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Cool Big Sis: Despite John's behavior towards her, Laurie actually seems to love him sincerely.
  • Enfant Terrible: John traps his parents and older sister in a hole in the ground and considers leaving them to starve.
  • For the Evulz: Discussed. John himself doesn't seem to understand what he's doing or why; he can't explain it to his parents.
  • Growing Up Sucks: This seems to be what John realizes and why he lets his family out.
  • Happily Failed Suicide: Possibly. John is facedown in the swimming pool when the parents and Laurie return, and they save his life. He is then shown being much happier in their company.
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  • Human Ladder: Brad, Anna, and Laurie form one in an attempt to escape the hole, but Anna is not able to reach the top.
  • Karma Houdini: Possibly. The last scene of the film is apparently of the family enjoying eating together, including John.
  • Parental Abandonment: The frame story (or secondary story, depending on your perspective) is about a girl named Lily who is abandoned by her single mother.
  • Riddle for the Ages: It doesn't answer why John did this to his family.
  • Rule of Pool: Played with. John is constantly seen swimming in the pool and constantly practices holding his breath underwater. At the end, when he's fully clothed, he tries to drown himself.
  • Sex in a Shared Room: While trapped in the bunker with their daughter Laurie, the parents are either having sex or about to when John reappears to let them out. Thanks to Sexy Discretion Shot (which is not sexy in the circumstances), it isn't clear which.
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  • Stepford Smiler: Despite their apparent happiness, Anna is on sleeping pills.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: A possible interpretation for why Brad, Anna, and Laurie save John from the swimming pool at the end.
  • Suicide by Sea: A variant. John tries to drown himself in the family swimming pool.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: John drugs his parents and Laurie through their drinks.
  • Thrown Down a Well: John imprisons his parents and older sister in a hole in the ground that is too deep for them to climb out of (they try). He eventually returns to let them out.