Digging Up the Marrow (2014) Review {by R.T Ewell}

digging-up-marrow-green-wise

Ever since I read about a new slasher horror movie called Hatchet I was instantly intrigued by its writer/director Adam Green. When I was finally able to see the movie, I was a fan. The slasher genre had all but died out from the horror scene but with the introduction of Victor Crowley, Green brought it back with over the top kills and an original plot. From there I followed his career with the follow up sequel, horror television series Holliston and a much underrated horror movie by the name of Frozen. And no, not the Disney version.

I’d waited for Green’s next feature length movie for a while, I must admit. So when I first heard about his project “Digging up the Marrow” I was excited. I listened to an interview where Green had stated that the movie was best seen knowing very little about it. So I took his advice and stayed clear as much as I could. I think I started to watch the trailer and then turned it off when I thought it was giving away too much. This review will be mostly spoiler free although I may go into some minor details just give a bit more of an opinion on the film.

The movie is filmed like a documentary. Its subject matter is that a man by the name of William Dekker contacts Adam Green (who plays himself in the movie) to tell his story. Adam is overly enthusiastic when Dekker claims to know that monsters truly exist in the world we live in. If you are a fan of Green and his previous films then this is kind of a tribute to Green’s career in a way. Everything from nods to his past films to going to conventions and talking with legends of the horror community.

William Dekker is played by Ray Wise who is absolutely convincing as this lunatic who whole-heartedly believes in these monsters while also showing a man that has a sad past. He is without a doubt the best part of the movie. Adam Green and Will Barratt do a fine job in their roles although we don’t see Barratt as much as we hear him because he runs the camera.

Being shot like a documentary, there are lots of times where shaky cam is in full effect. This shouldn’t scare people off though because I don’t think it’s as bad as most films which employ the same technique. The parts where the shakiness comes into play are actually very effective. The music is a bit on the quirky side, especially at the beginning, but it does fit the vibe of the film.

The story itself and Dekker’s reasoning as to what the monsters are is pretty fascinating. Of course the real journey of the movie is to whether these monsters actually exist or if they indeed are merely a figment of Dekker’s crazy imagination. In fact, the story is so interesting to me that I think that’s where the choice to go documentary style on this movie sort of failed. I mean, if I had a choice I would have really just wanted to see a movie based on the story itself, instead of a sort-of behind the scenes look at the story which is what I felt like we got. That sounds like a slap in the face to the movie but it’s really more of compliment as to the world that Adam Green created along with the character of William Dekker.

Digging up the Marrow is a horror movie but not in the sense of Green’s previous films. I consider this one more a jump scare movie instead of his typical over the top gore films. Frozen is also quite different as it’s a slow burn of what I think looks at true fear. There is a good amount of tension in the film when they are investigating the monsters dwelling which mostly takes place at night and the documentary style camera work shows itself again to be quite effective.

It’s an interesting concept and puts an original spin on what could have just recycled story lines from past movies. As far as the special effects go, I think some of them are good and some of them don’t look very good at all. It doesn’t really take away from the movie for me but it could for other people. The film really is worth seeing for Ray Wise’s performance as William Dekker. It’s such an intriguing character that I can’t help but recommend horror fans watch it. If you’ve never heard of Green before then this movie is kind of nice overview of his career and may make you want to look into his film library. And if you know who Green is than there are Easter eggs in there for you to find that he has included. I am looking forward to Green’s next movie as I believe he is a fresh voice in the world of horror.

-R.T.

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