HOLE begins at the end and ends at the beginning. Ex-con Ed Kunkle (Paul E. Respass) tries to live a normal life but he finds himself unable to live with the demons of his past. He works as a janitor and as part of his parole he must meet with a priest. Eve (Teem Luca s) struggles with the loss of her child. She is kind to Ed and he reciprocates her kindness with a gift from his childhood. Where he is trying to be helpful he is actually hurtful. Detective Bodie Jameson (Jim Barile) believes his girlfriend is cheating on him and he relates to her the story of Hector (Joaquin Montalvan) and Graciella (Theresa Holly) and how her infidelity drove him into a murderous rage. What chills her soul is that Bodie says he can understand Hector’s feeling. Bodie is buckling under the weight of his work.
Ed’s history of child abuse haunts him and as such he is constantly striking out against his cruel mother. Sadly Ed sees his mother in many women and takes decades of anger and rage out on them. The anger seethes from him even as he tries to be polite and comes across as tone deaf and a tad out of touch. A local priest tries to befriend Ed but ends up being more of a bother to him than anything. Detective Bodie tries to track Ed down but comes up short and almost becomes the monster he is pursuing as his speechifying becomes more cryptic and dangerous. Ed’s madness takes control as he has horrible flashbacks to his childhood. This sets off the already violent and unstable Ed on a precise and violent course that will finally bring his suffering and Eve’s to a merciful end.
While having some similarities to Joaquin Montalvan’s LEGEND OF THE HILLBILLY BUTCHER, HOLE is another creature entirely. A splash of some stylistic elements from the backwoods cannibal hoedown are on display in full force in the hallucinogenic HOLE. The director’s attention to detail is apparent in Ma Kunkle’s shed with all of the knick knacks, geehaws and other minutia creating an unsettling mood with their mere presence. Another shared theme is redemption. Once again Paul E. Respass has an opportunity to turn his character’s life around upon release from prison and it is even personified in the person of the priest. It also shows how the pursuit of those that do evil can turn the good to evil as Bodie Jameson is overcome by darkness. The highly stylized non-linear storytelling may throw some if the viewer doesn’t hold on tight once HOLE takes off. Joaquin Montalvan has demonstrated once again that he has top notch production skills. HOLE is well directed, edited, shot, and has good special effects. Stunning visuals and and a great performance from Paul E. Respass make this one to see. Respass may be one of the best talents working in independent film. Check it out.