Director: Sam Loh
Cast: Justin Cheung Kin Sing, Hedwig Tam Sin Yin, Jennifer Yu Heung Ying, Lam Yiu Sing, Raymond Chiu Wing Hung, Kate Yeung, Anna Ng Yuen Yee
Runtime: 1 hr 32 mins
Rating: NC16 (Horror)
Released By: mm2 Entertainment
Opening Day: 27 October 2022
Synopsis: A loving mother makes a death pact with a spirit by sacrificing her life to save her child. Years later, he grows up and is bullied whilst studying in medical school, resulting in his death. Reunited in death as vengeful spirits, mother and son open up a hell hole to those who had wronged them.
Caught in the whirlwind of a global pandemic, there were plenty of hold-ups where motion pictures slated to be released on a much earlier date had to be shelved for the time being. And Sam Loh's long-awaited addition to our line-up of scary movies is finally premiering on big screen this Halloween.
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time may sometimes be dubbed as fate or destiny. But is it really one's karmic repercussions where they are compelled to be at a place that is notoriously reputed for its distressing past, while being an open portal for more unsuspecting souls? Or is it just plain evil that is on the prowl for bolstering the unholy building with more deaths?
A tackily dressed young trio enters the dilapidated building that screams nothing but sinister, while being equipped with just their mobile phones and imprudence. Guided by faint melancholic weeps that seem to be coming from a place not too far off, they find themselves in a dark and dingy room only to see an elderly lady rocking back and forth, murmuring some raspy chants. And Hell Hole opens up through the eyes of this lady that seems to be waiting with bated breath to tell her-story.
With a predominantly young and talented cast ensemble, the visual gore achieved with CGI as suggested by the dope theatrical poster that has the title splashed in bloody red, Hell Hole boasts a plot that doesn’t just send chills down spines but also tugs on heart strings. And what good is a horror number sans the requisite dark, sinister and brooding vibe and this was effortlessly acquired with an apt setting, characterisation and a befitting theme.
The plot unfurls in 1995 where it certainly was an era that was rampant with stereotypical, husband-snatching, vixen-like personas and side chicks that won the day. The horror gets underway in a hospital in the outskirts of Kowloon, that already had an ominous reputation of an alleged murky past. The plot then advances into 2005, where history insists on repeating itself.
Although this Halloween release goes lax on jump scares as seen in the trailer, since its plot is meant to be grave serious (pun intended), it progressively makes up for it by seamlessly binding three different narratives that had transpired over different timelines. And it all happens in the same building that had assumed many avatars from being a hospital, to a medical school and finally a cut-rate office space.
Speaking of which, the trailer definitely aced the game of hook, line and sinker with its comedic scenes. But here's a little spoiler alert. It’s best advised not to anticipate humour throughout the entire film. A slapstick comedy sequence is planted only in the final leg of the sombre storyline and that might bring about a teeny bit of disconnect.
Far from the mythical hopping vampires that we all grew up watching, the 91-minute horror drama also succeeds in staying abreast of Hong Kong's urban legends where students of a notable university are strictly prohibited from locking up fellow classmates in the morgue and this is even made imperative on student handbooks. Psst! Unfortunately, this rule was implemented after a perplexing true incident that had happened in the 80s.
Buckle up and get ready to experience a melange of horror, gore and nostalgia with a dash of humour with this Cantonese addition to the slew of silver screen treats this October. That’s because it is no ordinary rabbit hole…
(If you are a true-blue buff of supernatural numbers that feature a place or building with a brooding past as its prime horror element paired with a neatly-written plot, then gear up to be beckoned into the Hell Hole this Halloween)
Review by Asha Gizelle Mariadas