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John and the Hole

Where to Watch John and the Hole


John and the Hole, directed by first-time filmmaker Pascual Sisto and written by Nicolás Giacobone, is a distinctive exploration of human behavior, familial love, and the distressing journey of a reality disconnected. The film premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival to a broad array of reactions, primarily due to its unique portrayal of a highly unsettling concept. The movie features Charlie Shotwell in the title role, with Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Ehle playing his parents, and maintains a sense of dread throughout.

The narrative opens with the eponymous character John, who appears no different from any average 13-year-old boy growing up in suburban America. He enjoys video games, cherishes momentary solitude, and shows the typical curiosity of a teenager. However, as the plot unfolds, it becomes obvious that something is amiss, an intricate peculiarity in John's psyche. He is intelligent, okay at tennis, is friends with kids his age, frequently lost in his own world yet astonishingly observant. John possesses an unnerving calmness, most acutely seen in his unsettlingly mature perspective that doesn't quite fit his age, causing us to question his motivations and morality.

Distinguished by Shotwell's deeply internalized performance, John is a figure more puzzled than demented, who conceives an experiment more out of curiosity than cruelty. John stumbles upon an unfinished bunker in the woods adjoining his family's property. The "hole" in question is a stark, deep, rectangular pit, fitted for an apocalypse but not yet completed. The movie then takes a chilling turn when John decides to use his family as subjects in a chilling "experiment" that probes the essence of power, freedom, and the complex dynamics of familial relationships. The movie's title thus takes on a literal and symbolic meaning – illustrating both the physical hole and the emotional abyss that John's actions spawn.

Actor Charlie Shotwell gives a perfectly underplayed performance, capturing the character's aloofness and unsettling calm, vividly demonstrating John’s inscrutable nature. Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Ehle ably portray the titular character's parents, reinforcing the disconcerting atmosphere that permeates the film. Their portrayals are suitably restrained, hinting at the veneer of normality that conceals unsettling realities.

The film excels in its visual storytelling. Cinematographer Paul Ozgur skillfully employs eerie stillness, clinical precision, and wide shots to underline the loneliness of the characters and their disconnected realities. The director's choice to lean on the movie's visual aspect and minimal dialogues frequently results in scenes that are charged with tension and mystery.

The film's sound design further accentuates its mood. It's virtually devoid of a traditional soundtrack, instead of using silence or ambient noise to heighten the discomfort created by the narrative. This deliberate lack of noise often gives way to an uncomfortable quiet that charges the atmosphere with an intermittent feeling of dread. As viewers put together pieces of the puzzle in the eeriely calm and silent frames, the story begins to unfold slowly, building up a disturbing narrative.

The narrative lacks the typical backstory or a discernible motive for John's behavior – leaving viewers to draw their own conclusions from the minimal hints provided. The narrative adopts a psychological instead of a sensationalist viewpoint, allowing room for interpretation. Can John's actions be attributed to the onset of puberty, his affluent background, or a deeper, more complicated character flaw? The movie doesn't answer these questions directly, instead, it showcases a complex exploration of human nature and societal norms.

John and the Hole can be considered a deep-dive into the modern horror-thriller genre, infused with family dynamics. It's more of a psychological exploration than a traditional story, harnessing the power of visual and auditory elements to offer a riveting yet disconcerting viewing experience. The screenplay brings to life a character study through John's peculiar choices, his eerie calm and manipulative behavior. This deeply chilling and moving film brings to screen an unusual tale of a boy whose alarming actions and peculiar experimentations create a story that is at once terrifying yet intensely engaging. You are left to question, ponder, and fear what the seemingly ordinary teenager - John - could be capable of next. The film ends as unsettling as it began, leaving us with more questions than answers.

John and the Hole is a Drama, Thriller, Horror movie released in 2021. It has a runtime of . Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.2. It also holds a MetaScore of 61.

How to Watch John and the Hole

Where can I stream John and the Hole movie online? John and the Hole is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent John and the Hole for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Pascual Sisto
Also starring Charlie Shotwell
John and the Hole is available on .