Cool it may be, but scary (or even mildly shudder-inducing) it ain't.
Derek Elley - Variety
No one understands that giddy rush of sugar buzz cinema better than director Joe Dante.
Mark Olsen - Los Angeles Times
Not likely to give anyone outside of toddler range any nightmares, but it's still a smooth, smart, and eminently likable "rainy night" family film.
The Hole doesn't have the frantic wit of Dante's Gremlins 2 or the political import of his Small Soldiers, but it has something just as satisfying: a thorough understanding of the psychological underpinnings of the genre.
Dave Kehr - Film Comment Magazine
On the surface, Dante's movies are juvenile horrors with some movie-savvy comedy thrown in, but underneath they're among the most subversive entertainments being made today. Hopefully future generations will discover this silly, smart gem.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Sadly, the picture is just too mild for its own good.
Jeremy Wheeler - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Curb your expectations and know you're going into a film about how curious children overcome their fears, not how malevolent darkness torments a group of unsuspecting "victims."
Matt Donato - We Got This Covered
Catch THE HOLE in 3-D if you can, but watch it with your kids during this approaching Halloween. You might remember a time when horror was fun and creepy and less violent and exploitative.
Jonathan W. Hickman - Daily Film Fix
Now that it's finally here, it proves a sight better than its direct-to-video credentials suggest.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
A refreshing example of how to make a film for a specific demographic the right way. ... Smart, scary and fun as hell.
William Bibbiani - CraveOnline
Entertaining, with a welcome sense of mischief, The Hole plays to Dante's strengths, returning him to a suburban battleground where young characters face off against an unstoppable, often knee-high malevolent force.
Brian Orndorf - Blu-ray.com
All the elements are here, they just don't add up to a satisfying whole.
Nathan Rabin - AV Club
If you enjoyed recent scary-but-kid-safe thrillers like Don't Be Afraid of the Dark or Super 8 - albeit toned down for pre-teens - then The Hole is definitely worth a peek.
Staci Layne Wilson - Horror.com
A fun kids horror film that may be a minor work for Dante, but still very satisfying.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
Will be instantly recognizable to anyone who grew up watching movies in the 1980s!
James O'Ehley - Sci-Fi Movie Page
This is scary, thrilling stuff, especially considering there's very little actual violence or gore.
The return of director Joe Dante would be more welcome if his children's horror-thriller weren't so tepid.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Director Dante knows a thing or two about making teen thrillers, and this film gets the atmosphere just right without indulging in cheap movie gimmicks.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Scarier than any of this year's 18-rated horror crop.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
Scary fun for young teens.
Allan Hunter - Daily Express
With the 1980s increasingly looking like a golden age for live-action family blockbusters, Joe Dante, the decade's most subversive practitioner of the form, makes a welcome return...
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
Dante delivers some terrific spine-tingling chills on the way towards a disappointingly overblown climax.
Marc Lee - Daily Telegraph
It's the kind of knockabout, kid's-eye-view comedy-horror that hasn't been made for a while, with some nasty, frightening touches, but expertly encased in a distinctive family-movie aesthetic.
An excellent family adventure with its heart in the '80s and its head very much in the now.
Adam Woodward - Little White Lies
Welcome back, Joe Dante, and welcome back '80s family frights. It might be too lightweight for hardcore horror types, but this is a great way to get in touch with your inner eight-year-old.
Ian Freer - Empire Magazine
It's good to welcome back one of the undisputed masters of modern genre cinema -- and adventurous kids will love it.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
An enjoyable compendium with some good effects, The Hole is bound to find one of your weaknesses.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
The Hole can't really be considered a return to form for the beloved helmer, but the shared ideas and themes overlap with his more successful works and will bring memories flooding back for those brought up on his '80s favorite.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
Not since the peerless Monster House will kids enjoy getting scared out of their developing minds.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
Enjoyably old-fashioned horror from genre veteran Joe Dante, with a strong script, some suitably creepy sequences and superb performances from its young cast.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Hits all the right notes for its target demographic, and Dante still has the chops to make it visually compelling for the rest.
Jordan Farley - SFX Magazine
Very much in the Dante family-friendly fantasy tradition of Gremlins, this nostalgic exercise in mild scares resembles the director's segment from Twilight Zone: the Movie in many creepy/fun respects...
Alan Jones - Radio Times
The Hole represents a solid and oh-so-welcome return to what Dante does best - imaginatively-staged, genuinely-scary small-town mayhem with a sentimental streak.
Simon Foster - sbs.com.au
Though it's a likeable story with a decent pop-psychology twist, the big dramatic problem with The Hole is the way its cute atmosphere and Disney-style teen bonding sessions and scary, thriller elements keep cancelling each other out.
Lee Marshall - Screen International
...Loses its flavour faster than chewing gum.
Bill Chambers - Film Freak Central