Joe Dante’s latest film “The Hole” brings families together for fun and frights.

Dante loved “The Hole” from the moment he read the script. “I found that this was a little better than the scripts I usually read. I get a lot of horror scripts and they’re kind of all the same. And this one–the honesty of the characters really struck me,” he said. “The kids are very well written which is hard to do, and the story didn’t go where I thought it was going to go. I had an idea of what kind of picture it was going to be and what was in the hole, and it really fooled me….I found that really interesting.”

Families will love “The Hole” not just for the family-friendly aspects, but also for nostalgic reasons; older members of the family will love getting echoes of the retro-style storytelling “The Hole” indulges in.

“It’s sort of the ’80s. That period of fantasy and horror with kid protagonists,” Dante said of the film. “I made some myself [including films like “Gremlins”]. I thought, making this movie, there’s still an audience for that. Every movie can’t ‘The Human Centipede.’ There has to be movies people could actually take their kids to and have them come out having enjoyed it rather than being emotionally scarred.”

One way “The Hole” keeps audiences entertained is by playing on all levels of fear. “So the idea was to make a film that worked on multiple levels; you have a 10-year-old character who has his own fears, then you have older kid characters who have their own fears and then you have the parents who have their own fears,” he said. “Because the revelation of what was really going on in the family was kinda dark, there was a tightrope we had to walk to make sure we didn’t make the picture too graphic. We tried to be suggestive about certain things and I think it pays off.”

Bruce Dern, who plays Creepy Carl in the film, said in an interview that Dante seems to enjoy directing films which features children in danger. Dante agreed. “I think it’s probably true because the juxtaposition of danger and innocence or evil and innocence is a very strong one,” he said. “[It] has gone down through history, like ‘The Night of the Hunter’ and ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ are all about the confrontation of innocence and evil. On a certain level, life is like that. It’s very primal.”

If you want to engage in some adventure and horror, make sure to get “The Hole” on DVD and Blu-ray September 25.

By Monique Jones

Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

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