The Hole

Year: 2001
Production Co: StudioCanal+
Director: Nick Hamm
Cast: Thora Birch, Keira Knightley, Embeth Davidtz
It's been a very long time since Thora Birch appeared in the credits before Keira Knightley, but if you want to see the future Elizabeth Swann in full support mode, here's your chance.

This film was a pleasant surprise. I thought it'd just be Hostel with a bunch of teenagers trapped in a sewer, but it was far more multi-faceted.

We meet the heroine, Liz (Birch), stumbling along the road in shock as if she's just escaped from a terrible attack.

As she's counselled by a psychiatrist, we learn what she's endured. A student at a proper English private school, she's just spent days locked in an abandoned bomb shelter. Accompanied by popular Frankie (Knightley), the son of a rock star Liz is secretly in love with and a friend of his with the hots for Frankie, she's led an expedition into the dark but secretive chamber where the foursome intend to spend the weekend partying and shagging when they're supposed to be on a school trip.

But the nerdy friend Martin who showed Liz where the hole was and provided cover for their escapade doesn't arrive at the agreed time to let them out and they spent a nasty, scary four days locked inside and running out of food.

The only problem is that the other three are still unaccounted for, and the psychiatrist doesn't fully believe Liz's story. When the police pick up the friend she blames for the whole thing, he tells a very different story - one in which he doesn't even know any of it's happened.

The truth is far nastier than the story Liz is telling, and it's resolved in a story that has just the right amount of unexpected turns rather than trying to pile twist upon twist like many mystery stories do.

Superbly acted and directed and very slick on screen, the story is enough to keep you guessing, and even when you think you can predict where it's going to go because you're so used to the language of this kind of movie, it subtly surprises you again.

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