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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 02.20.15] horror

Digging Up the Marrow is the latest film by Adam Green, a director who's really hit the mark in the past, most notably with the Hatchet series which I have a great fondness for. The film is a meta-mockumentary where Green (playing himself) embarks on a journey with his documentary subject William Dekker (Ray Wise) who claims to know about a secret underground society of rejected freaks that only come in the cover of darkness. The film was inspired by the stellar art of Alex Pardee.

Green has a legion of fans who he has been spreading himself very thin for lately. Besides films, Green showruns a TV series on Fearnet and hosts a very popular podcast called The Movie Crypt. How busy Green is actually comes up a few times during the course of Digging Up The Marrow. His producer chides him for being late with scripts and his wife bemoans his being such a workaholic (read: "when are you coming to bed?"). It's all in good fun and the behind-the-scenes feel will be enjoyed by Green's fans, but, ironically, I think Digging Up The Marrow represents how the quality of a film can suffer when its filmmaker is pulled in too many directions. Marrow feels like a great idea that needed a tighter story and more time spent in development.

Luckily, Ray Wise is in top form and brings a wonderfully dead serious tone to the otherwise jocular antics of Green and his crew. It's fun to watch Wise's retired detective snap and snarl at Green. The two play off each other well.

In terms of the horror-of-it-all, Digging Up The Marrow is mostly inert save for one truly amazing sequence near the end of the film where we see a number of creatures all at once. Not only is it jaw-dropping technically, it's also the closest we've come to see Pardee's work come alive. I only wish the film offered more of the wizardry of this scene.

Digging Up the Marrow will appeal mostly to hard core horror fans who will get a kick out of seeing industry folks like Troma's Lloyd Kaufman, Tony Todd (Candyman) and other diretors playing themselves like Don Coscarelli (Phantasm).

The is out on VOD now, so check it out if you find the concept interesting. If not, catch up on Hatchet a much better series by far.

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