John and the Hole (2021)

June 2nd, Movie 3

The June Swoon took a weird nose dive this evening as I watched a film called John and the Hole on Amazon Prime.

I’m not sure how to review this one.

John (Charlie Shotwell) is a 13-year old boy who lives with his father Brad (Michael C. Hall), mother Anna (Jennifer Ehle) and sister Laurie (Taissa Farmiga) in a house isolated in the woods. John discovered an old bunker in the woods and he decided to drug his family and imprison them in the hole.

That is your general plot. By the way, about 30 minutes into the movie, we came upon a little girl (Samantha LeBretton) and her mother (Georgia Lyman). The girl asked her to tell her the story about “John and the Hole” and we get the title card. Later on, the mother tells the girl that she is leaving and she gives the little girl money to live on.


Okay, SPOILERS from now on because I am not sure how else to talk about this otherwise.

We never learn a reason why John dumps his family in the hole. He does seem to be an odd child, and he is not much of a communicator with his family, but there is really no reason that I could see why he trapped his family in that hole.

In the end, John lowered a ladder down and let them out of the hole. They find John floating in the pool, but Brad jumped in and makes sure that John survived. Then, we see the family eating together as if nothing had happened.

I don’t know. I mean, performances were excellent. Charlie Shotwell was sufficiently weird and eccentric and he seemed to be extremely lonely once he dumped them down the hole. He talked his friend (Ivy O’Brien) to come over and later he wants one of his mom’s friends (Tamara Hickey) to stay with him.

He then cooks prosciutto and takes some in containers for his family.

You believe Shotwell the entire time, even though you do not understand why he is doing this.

The movie completely destroyed the narrative structure. I’m not sure how things fit together or why things are happening as they are. John is taking tennis lessons. Apparently he is really good at tennis. He drugs the gardener (I think) early on. Was he testing the drug on him before using it on his family?

There are a lot of ways to interpret what happened in John and the Hole, and I think that is the purpose from director Pascual Sisto. The viewer is allowed to determine exactly what is going on and what the different scenes mean.

It is a strange one. Very intriguing, but strange.

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