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By Michael Ferraro | April 6, 2005

Addiction is a pretty powerful habit. People get addicted to all sorts of stuff too. Drugs (both street and over-the-counter), sex, alcohol, cigarettes, pills, you name it these days and it seems that someone can get obsessive about it. In this film, a troubled and homeless young man gets rescued by a pair of self-help gurus (Mike and Eva) who supply him with a miraculous body lotion that makes him feel euphoric. It makes him feel so good in fact, he soon isn’t able to function without it.

Addicted to lotion? Yes, you heard it right. There are many shots in this film that show the young man being rubbed with lotion by others. It seems very odd at first, but as the film keeps going, it really isn’t all that strange.

The acronym “H.O.L.E.” actually stands for “High on Life Eternally” and it is an organization started by Mike (Verhaegue) and Eva (Sallows). The purpose of their group is to help the homeless get a new chance at life. They supply them with food, little jobs around the city, acoustic song, and if they are depressed enough, they supply them with an entire bottle of this mystical lotion that “makes the skin tingle.” The cream is an obvious placebo but for Mike and Eva, it helps to ensure that their homeless friends will always return.

Eva has big plans for her organization. She wants to do all the good she can for the community so that she is awarded a huge financial grant. Even if stealing (the lotion is stolen from a local beauty cream factory) and kidnapping in order to help achieve that goal.

The main problem with this film is that it isn’t sure what it wants to be. Is it a satire attacking self-help nuts and the people who fall for it? Is it a human drama about battling addiction or suffering from a lack of love? “H.O.L.E.” is basically attempting too many stories at once. If the filmmakers chose something to focus on, the result would have been a lot stronger.

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