#Manhole! was watched as part of Fantastic Fest 2023!
What would you do, in a world, where holes in the ground exist? And they want to swallow you whole? Even if you are a full grown man? That’s right, killer Manholes! This time, the holes are coming for men.
Well, that is not what this film is about. It is actually about Shunsuke Kawamura (Yûto Nakajima), a rich business man, who after drinking at a pre-wedding engagement, finds himself stumbling the streets, and sure enough, falling into a manhole. The cover was removed! Now he is at the bottom of a hole, with some pipes, a very broken ladder, and great cell service. Oh and his leg is cut. His attempts to get out go badly, and no one will answer the phone except for one of his exes. But when he attempts to get the police involved, and her, they all cannot find him, despite his GPS saying where he is!
So, Shunsuke does what any sane person would do. He creates a new “twitter” account (well, in this movie its called Pecker) called Manhole Girl, to try to get help from the internet. He picks girl, because people want to save women more than men. It goes viral, people start help finding his location through the stars, through rain maps, and start trying to figure out how they got there in the first place. Was he drugged and kidnapped? Or was it something worse?
But sometimes, manholes are like closets, and they can have skeletons inside of them. And maybe there is a lot more going on with this situation that we are just not prepared to handle right now.
Also starring Nao, Kento Nagayama, and Haru Kuroki.
Maybe he can eat the flowers. That will save him.
You see, the “hashtag” in the title is actually important, not just a silly little modern fad. Because of the reliance on (Twitter) Pecker, and a little bit more social media to move the story forward, this guy gets stuff trending for his own survival. And his strategy is a pretty smart one, most people will agree. It’s just went the investigators get a bit too aggressive is when things start to get more than he bargained for. Internet sleuths can dig up a lot of things. Some social media users can be willing to do a whole lot of stuff, for quick internet fame.
That all feels like appropriate teases for what may or may not actually happen in this movie.
Now, our main character acts so incredibly weird down there early on, both in terms of who he contacts, why, and his reluctance on the police. But by the end, a picture is painted, and everything checks out, even if it is a bit silly. Thankfully the big reveals are all things that lead UP to the final act, and not as sort of end pieces to the movie, so the narrative can change in interesting ways for the viewer. There was no Keyser Soze big reveal at the end. Our big reveals got to fester and leave a very fun and satisfying ending to the story.
It can be hard to narratively tell a good single location film, especially about someone being stuck. Its fun to think outside of the box, when someone is often stuck inside of one. Sort of like we had with The Pool a few years ago. Whether or not #Manhole has rewatchability, it is hard to say. It does however provide a very interesting first time experience at least.
3 out of 4.