The horror-thriller will open at the annual Utah gathering in January, and marks the feature directing debut of Cronin on the heels of his buzzy 2016 short “Ghost Train.”
A24 will take the film out to theaters while DirecTV will offer a limited pay-per-view window before release, as the latter has on many similar deals including Jamie Bell’s “Skin” and Johnny Depp’s “Richard Says Goodbye.”
“Hole in The Ground” stars heatseeking Irish actress Seána Kerslake as Sarah, a mother who moves with her young son Chris (James Quinn Markey) to a country home on the edge of a forest, which happens to hide an enormous sinkhole. Her boy vanishes and soon reappears unharmed, though his behavior grows increasingly disturbing, leaving his mother to fear the worst — that the boy in her home isn’t her son at all.
Leadership at A24 called the film a “remarkable debut film, weaving suspense, terror, and supernatural folklore into a richly evocative story about the primal fears of motherhood.” The company launched their original production “Hereditary” in the same window at Sundance this year to great acclaim and, eventually, box office success. That film, led by Toni Collette, remains in the current awards conversation.
“Driven by supernatural horror, this film tests audiences’ fears, self-restraint and willpower,” added Tim Gibson, vice president of video and application marketing at DirecTV owner AT&T, of Cronin’s work.
Presented by Savage Productions, “Hole in The Ground” was produced by John Keville and Conor Barry, co-produced by Benoît Roland and Ulla Simonen, and executive produced by Lesley McKimm, Macdara Kelleher, Patrick O’Neill, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Stephen Kelliher, Hilary Davis, Tim Hegarty, and Tara Finegan.
The film is presented in association with Screen Ireland, Bankside Films, Head Gear Films and Metrol Technology, The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Wallimages, Voo & BETV, and The Finnish Film Foundation, and in co-poduction with Wrong Men and Made. Bankside negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.