Movie Review: ‘Digging Up the Marrow’
Starring: Adam Green, Ray Wise
Plot: Horror filmmaker Adam Green documents his meetings with a retired police officer who believes he has found city of monsters.
You may know Adam Green as the director of Hatchet, his sophmore feature, which just so happens to have taken the horror world by storm. I remember hearing “the next Friday the 3th” quite a bit when it was first being reviewed. Green is a horror geek through and through. He even created a sitcom for FearNet about a couple of horror geeks (with him starring as one of them). With Digging up the Marrow, he dives into faux-documentary, a popular modern horror category.
Adam Green appears as himself, indie horror filmmaker. His amateurishness as an actor overshadows whatever impression he can make as a director. Green receives some fan mail from a William Dekker. Dekker is a former police detective from Boston, who believes he has discovered an underground city of monsters that he refers to as The Marrow. He has a big collection of artistic intrpertations of the monsters he has already seen. In the role of Dekker is Ray Wise, a fantastic character actor who does incredible work with the role. He walks that fine line between genius and crazy with such precision.
Dekker surmises that it is a home for all the birth defect humans who are “defected” to a fantastical degree. These monsters have incredible designs. They are mostly seen through the interpretations done by artist Alex Pardee, but the few that make it to screen have a twisted cartoonish quality, in a good way, like Jim Henson meets Todd MacFarlane (think MacFarlane’s twisted toy collections).
Like so many found footage documentaries that came before it, Digging up the Marrow deals with the kind of jump scares that puts you on the edge of your seat by teasing what is happening just beyond the range of the camera. There is always a peephole quality to it despite being some version of a classic wide screen. In that regard, it is incredibly successful. It just happens to be a scare that I am not very interested in. Effective, yes, but it is a wake up call that shocks you out of the moment instead of actually investing a good amount of dread.
However, the found footage aspect is not what makes this movie memorable. What makes it memorable, second only to Ray Wise’s incredible commitment, is how the faux-documentary doubles as a very real documentary about Adam Green’s fandom for horror. This is his love letter to monsters and scares, one that has a universal appeal for a fandom that runs deep (horror that is).