'Digging Up the Marrow': Film Review

Chloe Rice
One big in-joke

Horror filmmaker Adam Green ("Hatchet," "Frozen") pursues underground monsters in this self-reflexive mockumentary

Horror film veteran Adam Green (Hatchet, Frozen) gets into full meta-mode in his latest effort, a combination of the mockumentary and found-footage genres or, as he puts it in this case, "footage-footage." Featuring the filmmaker and such colleagues as cinematographer Will Barratt and artist Alex Pardee all playing themselves, Digging Up the Marrow is a playfully self-reflexive exercise whose endless in-jokes will best be appreciated by only the most ardent genre aficionados.

The set-up is that Green is approached by a retired detective (veteran actor Ray Wise, no stranger to the genre himself) who breathlessly informs him of an underground society dubbed "The Marrow" that is inhabited by monsters…or rather, deformed human beings who have retreated to the safety of their own hidden metropolis.

Despite the skepticism of his wife, Green, eager to explore the issue of whether monsters actually exist, pursues Dekker's claims despite the fact that the Boston police department claims to have no knowledge of him. Not helping Dekker's credibility is his crazed intensity and secretive nature, as evidenced by his refusal to let the inquisitive filmmaker check out the contents of his mysterious storage room.

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They eventually set off together to investigate the portals to The Marrow, mostly located in California forests although one entrance is at a local IHOP.

Why an IHOP, Green inquires?

"They like pancakes," Dekker replies in deadpan fashion. "Everybody likes pancakes."

The proceedings eventually degenerate into Blair Witch-style silliness, with Green and his cohorts frantically running through the woods while being chased by barely seen monsters.

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Featuring endless plugs for the filmmaker's production company and his past projects, the film also includes cameo appearances by such horror veterans as Troma's Lloyd Kaufman, actors Tony Todd (Candyman) and Kane Hodder (the Friday the 13th series), and director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm), among others. One of the more admittedly amusing moments comes when Green shows director Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child's Play) some of the monster footage he's supposedly captured.

"Who does your creature work?" the impressed Holland asks.

Purporting to have big issues on its mind, Digging Up the Marrow ultimately isn't substantial enough to sustain its fake documentary premise. But it certainly beats having to sit through yet another Hatchet sequel.

Production: ArieScope Pictures
Cast: Adam Green, Ray Wise, Will Barratt, Alex Pardee
Director/screenwriter: Adam Green
Producer: Cory Neal
Executive producers: Adam Green, Alex Pardee, Andrew Mysko
Director of photography: Will barratt
Production designer: Travis Zariwny
Editor: Joshe Ethier
Costume designer: Autumn Steed
Composer: Bear McCreary

No rating, 88 min.

 

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