Toward the end of 2014, a certain faux-documentary was frequently mentioned in several reviewers top films of the year lists which piqued my interest; Digging Up the Marrow hands down is completely worthy of its place as one of the best horror films of the previous year.
My only regret is not having the opportunity to see it sooner but as promised, it confirmed every single review I read and word of mouth among fans that its a film that’s best going into blind, with no prior-awareness of what lies ahead.
With five years in production, the concept of Digging Up the Marrow was inspired by some real life fan mail the film’s director Adam Green received where a possible crazed fan claimed that he could prove the existence of Green’s killer creation Victor Crowley of the Hatchet franchise.
In Digging up the Marrow, Green plays an extension of himself, based on a ‘what if’ scenario of how he and cinematographer Will Barratt (also playing himself) would approach a situation of that kind. In the movie Green addresses his fans on camera telling us that he was sent some interesting artwork and information from an ambiguous character named Thomas Dekker (Ray Wise) that proves that real monsters, deformed creatures rejected from society do indeed exist underground.
The film was a collaborative project between Green and Make up effects artist Alex Pardee who provided the innovative monster artwork belonging to Dekker that illustrates his theories on these intriguing creatures. Pardee’s work demonstrates an undeniable talent bringing in this fantastical imagery but also allows plenty to be left to the imagination. Pardee also plays a minor role in the film as the stern park ranger, one of the examples that Marrow creates this mind blowing parallel between reality and fiction while knowingly sticking with the “it’s only a movie…” approach.
Digging up the Marrow allows the viewer to embark on a personal journey with Green and Barratt, making us just as obsessive as them in wanting to make the true discovery about what lurks beneath the marrow…if anything?
The casting of Ray Wise as the odd Mr Dekker is genius. Green specifically intended to break the fourth wall however still wanted the notion that its a fictional movie we’re watching instilled into his audience. He could have easily gone down the route of casting an unknown for the purpose of ultimate authenticity however Wise just plays the part of the frustrated, confusing, bewildering older man brilliantly that its difficult to imagine anyone else in that role. Green’s reactions to him are absolutely priceless! Adam Green has a firm reason behind this decision, but you’ll have to watch it to find out!
An insight into the experience of horror fandom is a prominent part of the film as Green attends horror conventions in the US bringing in some entertaining cameos from a range of genre stalwarts; Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Tom Holland & Michael Garris to name a few. Green involves his genre colleagues and friends into what’s going on with his Marrow ‘documentary’. Editor Josh Ethier has the most vital role of working through the endless night time footage which enables the guys to discover layers and layers to the mystery they’re investigating.
Like the majority consensus, I am not prepared to spoil a single detail of the film experience that is Digging up the Marrow. Its smart, witty, original, dynamic and downright effective. What’s remarkable about Adam Green is he understands his audience well and creates the movies he knows we want to see. He also takes elements of the found footage sub-genre and manages to be innovative with it. Digging up the Marrow is the horror film that fans have been waiting for.
Dig up the marrow and discover what’s beneath on June 22nd when the film is released on DVD!