Is John and the Hole a True Story?

‘John and the Hole’ is a psychological drama film directed by Pascual Sisto that tells the story of John, a troubled young boy who traps his family inside a hole in the ground. The movie has shades of a coming-of-age story imbued in the unsettling premise that explores the psyche of a boy who craves adulthood and feels mistreated by his family. The director succeeds in conveying the disturbing narrative with a surprising sense of realism that is bound to make the viewers wonder whether the movie is inspired by any real incidents or true stories. If you wish to find out about the inspirations behind the movie, allow us to share everything we know in that regard.

Is John and the Hole Based on a True Story?

No, ‘John and the Hole’ is not based on a true story. The movie is based on a short story from writer Nicolás Giacobone titled ‘El Pozo’ (which translates to ‘The Well’). Giacobone, who is known for his work on ‘Birdman,’ also penned the story’s feature-length adaptation. In an interview, director Pascual Sisto revealed that he and Giacobone worked together on a short film in the early 2000s and became close friends. Giacobone shared the short story with Sisto, and a conversation between the two about the story prompted the writer to draft a screenplay based on it.

The premise of a young boy drugging his family and carrying them to an abandoned bunker seems a little too far-fetched to be real. In the movie, a mother tells her daughter the story of John and the Hole, which gives the narrative a metafictional element. Therefore, the narrative unfolds almost like a modern fable, which Sisto insisted was always the intention. Sisto explained that the story-within-a-story format and approaching the narrative from a third-person perspective was meant to invoke the texture of a fable.

In contrast, the events themselves have a naturalistic feel to them. The director also revealed that he wished to make a contemporary fable but did not want to set the movie in a fantasy world and grounded the story in reality. “We approached it as a fable. It was always intended to be a realistic, contemporary take on a fable by shooting in a naturalistic way instead of making it feel very magical… while using a little bit of the language and the leitmotifs of fables,” Sisto said in an interview with ScreenDaily.

The cast’s performances, especially that of actor Charlie Shotwell, who plays John, are crucial in grounding the story in reality. The differences between John’s interactions with various people help us understand the character’s complex nature. Despite the darkness of the act, John’s motive behind trapping his family is to attain a sense of freedom and control over his life, which ultimately makes the character relatable.

The movie also makes some poignant statements about parenting, risks of over-parenting, and detachment between parent and child, which allows the audience to connect with the characters and play along with the certain make-believe elements of the plot. Therefore, all things considered, ‘John and the Hole’ is a modern fable that is a careful concoction of fiction and relatability. The movie crafts a gripping narrative that may not always be believable but keeps the audience wondering about the emotional consequences of John’s actions.

Read More: Where Was John and the Hole Filmed?