A few weeks back, we published our upcoming horror movie list. Last year’s was a great success, and I was really trying to make it shine again this year. I spent a couple week’s scouring every horror source and board I could. I get tired of the “top 10 upcoming horror film list” that everybody posts and believe that it is possible to have a definitive database that includes both indie releases and those mainstream films that everybody knows about. I thought I did a pretty good job, and yet, right out of the gate:
“You left out Adam Green’s Digging up the Marrow it hits select theatres and vod on Feb.20th then dvd a month later”
Thank you Hacknslash666. I did forget Adam Green’s Digging Up the Marrow. It was a big omission as well.
Ironically, the other email in my inbox was a screener for it. I completely missed it, and it’s a shame. It needs to be on more people’s radars. It’s freaking fun and breathes a little life back into the found footage (excuse me….footage) genre. Green manages to bring reality back to a genre sorely needing it while letting his imagination just kind of run around wild.
If you don’t know who Adam Green is, he is Boston writer/director that brought us the Hatchet series, Frozen (no, not that one…the horror movie one), and Chillerama. He is also the host of the very popular podcast The Movie Crypt (which he co-hosts with director Joe Lynch). Adam is a very likable guy that really enjoys his work.
Adam is also quite the horror fan.
Like every horror fan, I kinda want monsters to be real. There’s something beautiful about something just not beautiful. I think it’s a part of us that just relates with that stuff the hides in the shadows: Although avoiding the light, we want to wield our ugliness at will if necessary. Another part…that childish side of me cringes when I hear a floorboard squeak at 3 am. I always check my backseat before getting into a dark car.
Adam and I are quite alike, and in Digging up the Marrow, Adam is presented with an opportunity to prove monsters are real. While going through his fan mail, he discovers a lengthy letter written in a composition book detailing the existence of monsters that live underground. Adam contacts its author, former detective William Dekker (Akron, OH screen great Ray Wise) and eventually talks him into a documentary. Now, I don’t know if it was purposeful, but the opening documentary scenes are awful. They’re cheesy. They’re edited poorly. Adam is quite uncomfortable in front of the camera.
But as Dekker’s story unfolds, the film takes a dark turn. It’s like those creepypastas that you read on Reddit. They may not outright scare you immediately, but something just kind of seems off. It’s unsettling, and leaves room for many questions. While Adam searches out these answers, we get taken along for the ride courtesy of cameraman Will Barratt. One night, while following Dekker’s leads, the filmmakers capture one of the monsters on tape. This just fuels Adam’s desire to find more answers as Dekker begins slowly retreating from the monster that he’s created.
Digging up the Marrow is quite self aware. I don’t know how I would depict myself on film, but Green manages to handle it quite well. Most found footage films are cliched now with the out of touch director but Green manages to stay grounded in the ever developing story. Not only is he a real director, but he even brings on his friends and co-workers for cameos (including Kane Hodder) to add a more realistic feel to the film. I guess that most found footage directors do the same, but it’s not the same: I have no idea who those people are. Green’s friends, however, can be notorious. This just makes it feel…real. And that’s very good for a found footage film. We’re just so inundated with these films nowadays that I forgot what made Blair Witch so special to me 20 years ago. Reality is vital to the genre.
It’s in the reality of this film that the horror lies. Dekker seems to be so certain of the existence of these creatures and their mythical metropolis (Marrow) that it leaves Green and us to ponder What if…?. It’s real enough to feel like a joke, and it’s magical enough to make us hope that it’s real. I’d love to know how Dekker knew so much about the creatures. It’s never quite explained, and it lets you know just enough to let your imagination take off.
Speaking of imaginations taking off, Alex Pardee is one messed up individual. He came up with the concept for the monsters in the film (and Green brought them to life). I guess this is a spoiler, but we see things. Horrible, disfigured things. But we get our imaginations revved up by looking at some of the artist renderings of what Dekker had seen in the past. It’s a funderful (fun, wonderful) journey through a messed up carnival of souls, and Pardee has all of that just swimming in his brain. Again, very effective in the overall film.
It’s a February release, and it’s a release that I missed. But Digging up the Marrow is definitely worth a look. It’s a perfect way to start out the horror year.