British Board of Film Classification

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THE HOLE <span>[3D]</span> artwork


Type of media Film

Approved Running time 91m 50s

Release date 22/09/2010

BBFCInsight Contains sustained moderate horror

Genre(s) Horror

Director(s) Joe Dante

Cast includes Teri Polo, Hayley Bennett, Chris Massoglia

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 12/09/2010

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

THE HOLE is a 3D horror film about two boys who discover a hole in their basement, at the bottom of which they confront their fears. The film was passed '12A' for sustained moderate horror.

The horror takes place as each of the three main characters confronts their own fear in turn. For the youngest character, the fear is of clowns and a spooky varnished puppet terrorises him by appearing propped up on his bed, leaping out of the darkness of the cellar and trying to drown him in next door's pool. The spooky puppet is a well-worn horror image and some of the moments are genuinely scary. However, after the puppet has appeared in a couple of jump moments, its impact lessens and the doll becomes ridiculous.

The female character has to confront the fact that she allowed her friend to plummet to her death from a roller-coaster when the pair were about six years old. In addition to the friend's death, a policeman who had come to rescue the pair was also allowed to fall to his death. Both the child and the cop appear to the characters, presenting some spooky jump moments. A scene in which the young girl looms out of the darkness in a restaurant bathroom is genuinely scary. However, later appearances establish the fact that she is not menacing, just helpless, and any threat is lessened. The appearance of the cop contains the film's one gory moment. As he turns to walk down the stairs, we see that the back of his skull is missing and his brain is visible. The image is shocking but brief and BBFC Guidelines at '12A' allow for 'occasional gory moments if justified by the context'.

The older boy's fear is his incarcerated father, who used to beat the brothers. He looms into shot at various moments in the film but only appears fully at the very end, when both brothers have travelled into the hole for the final confrontation. The man's size is exaggerated and he appears to the boys as he would have done when they were children. The scenery is also exaggerated, with wardrobe shelves stretching upwards into the sky and the floor breaking off into pieces as the boy and his father face off. The setting underlines the fact that this is fantasy and a figment of the boy's own imagination.

BBFC Guidelines at '12A/'12' state that 'Moderate physical and psychological threat may be permitted, provided disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained.' The horror is sustained in places. However, the horror never goes beyond moderate and there is only one moment of brief gore.

In addition, the film contains some mild language including a couple of uses of 'dickhead'.


Title Information
Also known as
E1 Films
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
91m 50s
Approved footage
BBFC reference
Registration number
Note to parents
This version of the film is displayed in the 3D or IMAX format and some younger children may find this a more intense experience

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