I have always preferred monster movies over any other sub-genre of Horror. Slasher movies are cool too, as is the occasional work of “Psychological Horror;” but give me a straightforward monster movie any day. And it’s not to say these sub-genres can’t be blended, but I think a Horror film that says “What is that thing?” is all I’m ever really looking for.
“Digging up the Marrow” by Adam Green, who created the Hatchet franchise, as well as the Thriller, Frozen, seems to share this sentiment. The film is shot as a mock documentary, in which Green and most of the rest of the cast play themselves. Green has received a letter from a fan named William Dekker (Ray Wise) who claims to have discovered an underground civilization of monsters. Dekker believes this underground world, which he has deemed the “Marrow,” is a haven for the world’s deformed outcasts. Green and his camera man head out into a wooded old cemetery with Dekker to see if they can catch one of these creatures on camera.
I thought the film was ok. It grabbed me at the beginning with the array of Horror icons (Mick Garris and Tony Todd among them), sharing their love for monsters. But the film fails to sustain any tension. Green is obviously a man of talent, but he is not a great actor. I found it difficult to care about his character, even though I wanted what he wanted–to see a real monster!
The film boils down to a series of conversations between Green and Dekker–many of which revolve around Green’s insistence that they need to use lights to see in the dark and Dekker’s stubborn refusal to allow the use of lights because the monsters don’t like it. We get a lot of “What was that?” “Did you see it?” “Oh, it’s gone.” There are some great special effects toward the end, but by then the film had kind of lost me.
I’m not going to say this is a bad movie. It’s not. It’s entertaining, and I appreciate the film’s goal. There’s an innocence to it. It calls to the viewer’s inner child, who just wants to believe in monsters (or maybe not, but then you wouldn’t be watching the movie in the first place, eh?). It requires a little work from the viewer because you have to quiet your inner critic, who expects constant thrills, and try to feel Green’s excitement at the prospect of seeing a real monster (this is where Green’s acting made it difficult for me). If you are a fan of monster films and/or Adam Green, this is still worth a watch. It’s not what I was hoping for, but maybe I just have unrealistic expectations.