Irish filmmaker, Lee Cronin’s feature debut, The Hole In The Ground, premiered at the renowned Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, over the weekend, where it was met with overwhelmingly positive reactions from critics and audiences alike.
Starring Seána Kerslake (A Date For Mad Mary), James Quinn Markey (Vikings), James Cosmo (T2 Trainspotting), Simone Kirby (Jimmy’s Hall), Steve Wall (An Klondike) and Kati Outinen (Le Havre), Cronin co-wrote the film with Stephen Shields.
The Hole In The Ground follows Sarah O’Neill (Seána Kerslake) who is trying to escape her broken past by building a new life on the fringes of a backwood rural town with her young son, Chris (James Quinn Markey).
A terrifying encounter with a mysterious neighbour shatters her fragile security, throwing Sarah into a spiralling nightmare of paranoia and mistrust, as she tries to uncover if the disturbing changes in her little boy are connected to an ominous sinkhole buried deep in the forest that borders their home.
Speaking about having his film premiere at Sundance, director Lee Cronin said:
“It’s been a whirlwind since we touched down in Park City. The wave of support and positivity around the film has really helped quell the nerves that you cannot escape when premiering your debut feature at Sundance“.
Critical reviews have compared the film to Hereditary, The Witch and The Babadook, praised Seána Kerslake’s performance and are touting it to be one of the great horrors of the year:
“Seána Kerslake is a star” -Variety
“The likes of Hereditary, The Witch and The Babadook have premiered [at Sundance] in recent years, going on to be some of the most talked-about horrors of the year – and you can now add the nerve-shredding The Hole in the Ground to that illustrious list….. say hello to the first great horror of 2019″ -Digital Spy
“The Hole in the Ground takes a simple, curious, highly cinematic premise and never over-explains or bombards you with flashy set pieces but rather, sustains its 90-minute runtime by creating two well developed, engaging characters, letting you live with them, and then all slowly slip into the darkness and paranoia together” -Collider
“Sarah deserves a spot among the great heroines of horror” -BirthMoviesDeath
“Cronin’s film has the strength to strike fear in the heart of hardened horror fans. Coupled with incredible performances, this makes his debut feature by far the best horror film of the year so far and one of the greatest Irish horror films ever” -Starburst Magazine
The Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival in the US. Many notable independent filmmakers have received their big break there, including Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Steven Soderbergh. The festival is also responsible for bringing wider attention to such films as The Blair Witch Project, Little Miss Sunshine, Whiplash, Boyhood, Hereditary, and Get Out.
The festival attracts some of Hollywood’s biggest names, rising stars, and change-makers with Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Jason Momoa, Naomi Watts, Gerard Butler, Jon Hamm, Annette Bening, and Adam Driver being some of the famous names attending this year’s festival.
The film was shot on location in Dublin, Kildare, and Wicklow ,and was produced by Conor Barry and John Keville for Savage Productions, with Benoit Roland and Ulla Simonen for Wrong Men and MADE. The film was funded by Screen Ireland, the BAI and Headgear Films, with support coming from Wallimages and the Finnish Film Foundation.
Wildcard Distribution will be releasing the film in Irish cinemas from Friday 1st March.