Movie Review: John and the Hole (2021)

Synopsis: A 13-year-old boy, John, discovers an abandoned bunker in the woods behind his house. A couple days later, he drugs his family and leaves them stranded in the bunker. As they struggle to survive both starvation and the elements, John tries to live his life without them.

Review: When I found this movie at the library and read the description, I didn't know if it would be a pleasant surprise or another dud. After watching it, I can confidently say this film falls into the "what the hell did I just watch" category.

The premise of this movie isn't a terrible one and, because of that, the movie did seem like it would be interesting at first. John (Shotwell) seems to be relatively normal with a caring family. This made his obsession with that bunker and his decision to leave his family in it for several days out of character enough to make me want to see more.

The problem is, once he does put them in the bunker, the film starts to go downhill quickly. Seeing him trying to stick to his normal routine and even inviting one of his friends over got dull fairly quick and, every time the movie seemed to be attempting to build some suspense, such as when his mom's friend calls the police, it ends up falling flat. I mean, in what world do the police come out to a house in search of an apparently abandoned and suspiciously acting minor then just leave because the house is locked?

I did think the part about his family's reaction to being in the bunker was somewhat interesting, ranging everywhere from panic and anger to moments of laughter. Unfortunately, since the movie focuses on John, that part just doesn't have enough of an impact. Not to mention, the part involving his dad (Hall) suddenly wanting to have sex with his mom (Ehle) while in the bunker seemed weird and out of place, considering their situation and the fact they were only a few feet away from their daughter (Farmiga).

Oh, and what the heck was up with that side story involving a 12-year-old girl (LeBretton) being abandoned by her mom (Georgia Lyman)? I thought it would somehow connect with the main story and, at one point, the film hinted the main story was a bedtime story. However, by the time the film ended, I was just confused because there was no effort to connect the two things up.

Of course, to be fair, the entire ending was confusing, especially when John and his family are shown sitting at the kitchen table, having dinner, as though nothing happened. Why did he do it? Why aren't they caring? I kind of feel like maybe someone couldn't figure out a good answer and just decided to go with the ending that made the least sense.

Final Opinion: The premise would have made a good movie had there been any effort to at least try to have it make some sense. In its current form, it almost seems like the filmmakers tried to fuse together two separate films and failed miserably. I don't recommend it.

My Grade: F


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