Digging Up the Marrow movie full length review - Guessing at Director's Intent?
I really wanted to avoid writing the same review that many others, both professionally and on this board, seem to craft about this move.
Inevitably, most people's opinion of this film boils down to whether you agree with some of the directorial choices made in the development of the film. I wanted to approach this from a pure point of view of "quality" and whether I enjoyed the film or not, but in the end all of those other questions come down to that main question, Ray Wise or not Ray Wise?
I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that this is a "mockumentary" presenting itself as almost real documentary. Adam Green plays himself, following a nutball around who honestly believes that he's found real monsters, which Green reveals is his real life pursuit. At first, following the character more for the laugh value at his belief, then getting serious when they realize he may be presenting more truth than they care to know.
The problem at the fore of this theme is the use of a well known actor, Ray Wise, as that nutball monster hunter. The movie really struggles to find its' identity in the play between Wise and Green. Any attempt to properly "hoodwink" the audience into believing there may be some "Blair Witch" kernel of truth to this movie is thrown out of the window when a known actor shows up in the proceedings, playing an over the character. Okay, then. I can accept that as a viewer. We're going to go into mockumentary of faux documentary territory, then, right? We're going to have fun pretending this is real? That would be true, if the remaining performances weren't so freaking terrible. The extended cast of known actors and directors, playing themselves, are so wooden and rehearsed as to be awkward. The main performance by director Adam Green is never believable enough to feel authentic, or crafted enough to feel like a well- acted role. It ends up feeling like what should have been a clever internet short, rather than a full length movie.
I love the idea of using Pardee's art as inspiration for a NIGHTBREED-style film stocked with a cast of interesting monsters. What could have saved all of this was to give me some great monsters. All of this critical debate over choices probably would have been secondary had the movie given us some real horror to chew on, but I never really felt a sense of suspense building and the monsters themselves were few and far between, seen only in fleeting glimpses that offered promise, but no real reward.
I found myself walking away wondering at the film's intentions, like many. I really can't understand what they wanted to do with the movie and feel like, ultimately, they didn't either. The movie appears to be a compromise between two roads they could have taken and choosing neither led them nowhere.