Criticism | John and the Hole: Michael C. Hall and Taissa Farmiga in an ambitious but weak terror

Watched movie during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

A beautiful and tranquil bucolic setting transforms into a disturbing contrast, facing the silent psychopathy of an apparent ordinary teenager, who makes his parents and sister hostage to themselves – in a forgotten bunker found in the forest that surrounds his residence. John and the Hole presents itself as this ambitious psychological and emotional terror, which tries to take the audience into a kind of character analysis, as it pushes them to try to decipher the sickly and sadistic behavior of a spoiled teenager. But his initial boldness ends up being lost, in a scenario that promises more than it can offer.

Pascual Sisto has good intentions with his terror and tries to aim for something with an approach similar to We Need to Talk About Kevin, only with a little more conceptual and authoritative aesthetic. Intriguing the public in its first minutes, the film goes well, grows dizzily before the public’s eyes and raises a succession of questions which latently follow until the last second. Trying to show the cracks of a supposedly perfect family – amid the fragility of contemporary adolescence, John and The Hole even looks daring, trying to bring new freshness to the genre.

But as its second act wraps up, starting the final stages of the plot, our belief in the narrative potential of Nicolás Giacobone’s screenplay begins to drift, to the point of perishing to a shallow and thin ending that – not even close. – corresponds to the audacity and pride of his eponymous character. Even bringing in a solid cast, led by Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story), the production leaves us in the exact position of other members of John’s family: without understanding absolutely any of the psychopath’s motives. .

And not that there is an essential need to justify the actions of its sadistic protagonist. The big deal with John and The Hole is exactly the lack of notion in its screenplay, which originally seems to want to psychologically scrutinize an upper-class family, but forgets its original foundation, leaving the plot to unleash the same pace as madness that the character experienced by young Charlie Shotwell. And even though the thriller / terror attempts to shatter the angst that sometimes rules adolescence, the production fails to ever go too far into this question – which is indeed critical to the film’s outcome – leaving us once more adrift, waiting for something that should have but did not come.

Lazy in its denouement, but technically very well produced, the first feature film of Pascual Sisto’s career could have gone further, it got lost in its last moments and found itself as a missed opportunity, both for the filmmaker than for the public. Unable to live up to its own ambition, John and The Hole had everything to be the great psychological horror film of the year, but sadly it is in serious danger of time being forgotten.

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