“Just because something doesn't look like us or look like everybody else doesn't mean that it's scary. I mean, my whole life I've only wanted to see a real monster. You know, like when I was little I'd look under my bed, I'd look in the closet, not because I was afraid but because I wanted it to be real.” – Adam Green
This film is a little hard to explain. It’s a mockumentary – a fictional story told in the style of a documentary. Several horror movie notables play themselves with one major exception. It’s kind of a found footage film, it delivers more than its fair share of shocks, tension, unease and laughs. In short – it’s a movie that I wholeheartedly recommend to anybody.
I’ve spoken to writer, director and star of this movie Adam Green on a couple of occasions. Back when I worked for GoreZone magazine, we covered his films Hatchet and Spiral. He’s a great guy to interview. Very upbeat, enthusiastic and funny. Very much, in fact how he appears on screen in Digging Up the Marrow. I’ve enjoyed the three Hatchet movies he’s made to date, all starring Kane Hodder – another industry titan I’m lucky to be acquainted with. Adam’s a horror director whose career I’m following with interest.
So, the film starts with quick soundbite segments shot at various comic conventions on the nature of monsters and why we love them so much. Adam Green himself weighs in with his childhood yearning for monsters to be real. He goes on to explain how fans of his films have sent him stories, artwork, sculptures and such over the years.
Then he tells of his plan to make this documentary about real monsters, because he’s been approached by a retired detective called William Decker (Ray Wise – the only actor here playing a fictional character – and incidentally, to continue my outrageous name dropping, I’m proud to say I interviewed him as well, a few years ago)
Decker is a wild eyed believer, spinning stories of having observed these monsters, many of them misshapen and claiming to know exactly where the entrance to the monsters’ underground lair is, and after coaxing, decides to take Green and his cameraman to the site, which, appropriately enough is in a cemetery. (Yeah, this does sound an awful lot like the plot for Clive Barker’s Nightbreed). For reasons known only to himself, Decker calls this entrance “The Marrow”.
Several nights go by without incident, Decker claims to see the creatures, but neither Green, the cameraman nor indeed the camera can make anything out in the dark. Decker forbids the use of lights for fear of scaring the monsters away. One night, they do see something, and set up several cameras – which show Decker feeding something in the entrance to the pit. Trying to figure out whether this is a hoax, they show footage of the beast they see to the always likeable Kane Hodder, star of Friday the 13th VII - X and the Hatchet trilogy, knowing he’s had some experience of make-up and prosthetics, seeking his opinion.
Further doubts are cast on Decker’s credibility, as he’s been touting the same story to every Hollywood horror director despite telling Green he was the first and only one approached.
One evening, in desperation – Green and his cameraman go to the site alone, but decker is there ahead of them, keeping his vigil. They have a confrontation and are actually attacked by several of the monsters. The attack is unexpected and comes from an unexpected direction. It’s startling when seen, and the awesome execution of the monster effects is absolutely unbelievable for a film with such a small budget that was literally made with a handful of people working on a secret project.
The intensity of the attack on the small crew is surpassed only by Green’s discovery of footage from one of his cameras that had gone missing. It shows Decker naked and beaten, in a cage, deep down in the Marrow – a prisoner of the monsters – he pleads for his work be denounced and dismissed and that nobody ever try to follow him or to find him.
Even more disturbing is how the footage came to be in Adam Green’s possession. THAT will stay with you long after the credits have rolled, and the DVD is back in its case and returned to the shelf.
A recommended purchase, which you can make by clicking this link.
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