Damn it, Digging up the Marrow, you almost had something great here.
Adam Green is a filmmaker best known for the Hatchet horror movie franchise & the TV series, Holliston. He wrote, directed & starred in Digging Up the Marrow so if you’re not much of a fan, be warned…there is a lot of Adam Green in this movie.
A found-footage told in documentary style. Green playing himself (albeit a fictionalised version) is contacted by a man who claims that he can prove monsters are real. William Dekker, played by the brilliant Ray Wise, claims to have proof that monsters exist. That they live in some form of underground city which he calls the Marrow.
Naturally Green is sceptical but figures his monster documentary could be re-worked to include Dekker & his wild claims.
The pair, alongside cameraman, Will Barratt meet in Dekker’s home where he explains what he knows. He suggests he has proof but only reveals that he has sketches of a number of different monsters.
Green & Barratt agree to go to where the supposed entrance of the Marrow is with Dekker. However, their suspicions regarding his mental state are worsened when he claims to see a monster in the woods that they can’t see.
Green is ready call it quits but on the second night outside the Marrow they manage to capture brief footage of what appears to be some sort of monster. Green is over the moon, so desperate to believe what Dekker is saying but his friends & wife are sceptical still.
Dekker is annoyed that the filmmakers have disturbed the inhabitants of the Marrow but agrees to continue collecting footage. They set up some static cameras around the supposed entrance in the hope of capturing more footage but end up seeing something they couldn’t have been prepared for.
It’s impossible to not feel the love that Adam Green has for this project, progressing over a four-year period. The in-jokes, the documentary style, the cameos of real-life horror stars & creators (Kane Hodder, Lloyd Kaufman, Tom Holland etc.). It’s serious fan service but still coherent enough for a non-horror watcher to enjoy.
It feels like a love-letter to horror & monsters but avoids cheesiness by keeping you guessing about Dekker. Ray Wise is incredible, Dekker is a very interesting character. His obsession with the Marrow & monsters in general makes him unhinged but a sympathetic man.
Where Digging up the Marrow falls flat unfortunately is with its payoff. It needed to be something special after the build we get & imaginations will run wild. The thought of what the Marrow actually is, the potential of seeing this vast subterranean city & the possibly of the monsters that stalk its streets. It could have been amazing even if it was just a brief & fleeting moment.
Instead we get a brief shot of a gate & that’s your lot regarding the Marrow.
In regard to monsters, we do get a few scenes involving a few different looking ones but they don’t look good. They look a bit silly. It’s very disappointing & the entire final few minutes just feel rushed.
It’s a real pity because the idea behind this was good, the found-footage style is actually really enjoyable (mostly) & the cast are all pretty likable. It just lacks a decent finish especially when so little happens leading up to it.
Digging Up the Marrow