DIGGING UP THE MARROW (2015)
Adam Green, Ray Wise, Will Barratt, Alex Pardee, Rileah Vanderbilt, Josh Ethier
Directed by Adam Green
One of the best and underrated horror films of the 90's, "Nightbreed," written and directed by Clive Barker, took us to Midian, an underground city in a graveyard where the monsters lived. Director Adam Green (Hatchet, Hatchet 2) plays himself in this mockumentary that embodies the spirit of Barker's film while keeping the movie's tone mischievous. It's playful yet it wants to scare you.
The cast of "Digging Up The Marrow" is made up of regulars from the horror film industry that play themselves except for wonderful character actor Ray Wise as retired police detective William Dekker who contacts Green with claims that he's found the entrance to an underground society of monsters which he's dubbed "The Marrow." So Green along with cinematographer Will Barratt decide to interview Dekker hoping that the crazy individual will make a great subject for a funny and entertaining documentary.
Once at Dekker's home, the filmmakers are shown illustrations and drawings of the creatures that Dekker has spotted around the various entrances to The Marrow (yes there's more than one including an IHOP because monsters love pancakes). The artwork and the design of these creatures is really great thanks to freelance artist Alex Pardee who draws inspiration from 80's horror films and old cartoons. If you're not familiar with his work check out www.eyesuckink.com.
Soon Green, cameraman Barratt, and Dekker are camping out late at night in a secluded area of a public park where the supposed entrance to The Marrow is located. They mount various cameras on trees surrounding a large hole in the ground hoping to get some footage of these "monsters" that Dekker claims exist. The filmmakers are skeptical but the enthusiastic Green is like Fox Mulder, "he wants to believe" while Barratt takes the Dana Scully "I have to see it to believe it" approach.
Fans of the horror genre are more likely to embrace this film that features cameos from Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Don Coscarelli, Lloyd Kaufman, and Tom Holland, plus Adam Green is a likeable guy (props for wearing a couple of different Alamo Drafthouse t-shirts), but the selling point of this film is seeing actor Ray Wise chew up the scenery. Wise is great and very funny as the serious retired detective who never falls out of character. A considerable amount of time is spent waiting for something to happen in the film and the whimsical tone of the movie alleviates some of the tension but there are some scary moments in the film.
Green states in the film that it's not "found-footage" because no one has found anything, it's footage-footage but if what we are seeing is the making of a documentary then Green makes the mistake of actually showing Barratt holding the camera as well as other shots that resemble a standard film. That slip-up doesn't bother me too much because the film doesn't try to take itself too seriously and so if you are a fan of the genre you will probably enjoy "Digging Up The Marrow," I did.