Editor’s note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast, Universal Monsters Cast and Land of the Creeps horror podcasts. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.
Digging Up the Marrow may feature Adam Green (the creative mind behind Frozen and the Hatchet series) in the lead role, but it is only superficially about the writer / director making his next movie. At its heart, this 2014 faux documentary is about a lifelong fan of monsters (Green) trying to prove they actually exist, that the creatures he fell in love with as a child aren’t just figments of his imagination, and watching this particular quest unfold was enough to keep me on the edge of my seat.
Adam Green has received his share of fan mail over the years, but a package sent to him by a Mr. William Dekker (Ray Wise) contained something quite extraordinary. Dekker, a former private investigator from Boston, forwarded Green a notebook filled with drawings of strange creatures, all of which he claims are real and living in an underground society he calls “The Marrow.” Intrigued by the prospect of coming face-to-face with an honest-to-goodness monster, Green and his creative partner Will Barratt interview Dekker, believing that, even if his story doesn’t check out, he’ll at least be a great addition to their upcoming documentary.
Though definitely a bit odd, Dekker does, indeed, convince Green that he’s located the entrance to The Marrow, and while the rest of the world, including Barratt and Green’s wife Rileah (Vanderbilt), seems to think that Dekker is either insane or a skilled con man, Green believes he’s telling the truth, and sets up hidden cameras around the Marrow’s entrance in the hopes they’ll eventually reveal all of the secrets this fascinating new world might be hiding.
Though usually behind the camera, Green does a fine job as the star of Digging Up the Marrow, portraying an artist so fixated on what he’s deemed the discovery of a lifetime that he can’t concentrate on anything else (at one point, we sit in on a meeting where Sarah Elbert, the producer of the TV series Holliston, impatiently asks Green when he’ll be finished with the next season’s scripts, which he hasn’t started writing yet because he’s been too preoccupied with Dekker and his Marrow). Even the revelation that Dekker hasn’t been honest with him, which he discovers during a conversation with fellow director Tom Holland (Child’s Play, Fright Night“) and writer Mick Garris (The Fly II, Hocus Pocus) at a horror convention, isn’t enough to damper Green’s enthusiasm, and his steadfast determination is what makes Digging Up the Marrow as engaging as it is.
There are some interesting cameos scattered throughout (Kane Hodder even shows up to view some of the footage that Barratt shot at the Marrow), and in those scenes when we do see them, the movie’s creatures (designed by Alex Pardee) are jarring, to say the least. But in the end, Digging Up the Marrow is a movie for horror fans by a horror fan. Having stirred the imaginations of thousands of people with his movies, Adam Green got his stirred a bit as well, and that is what makes Digging Up the Marrow such a satisfying experience.
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