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Digging Up the Marrow - Movie Review


4 stars

Writer/director Adam Green is still the horror genre’s independent darling.  His Hatchet trilogy kicked up a fair amount of dust among Horrorhounds but it was the Hitchcockian Spiral and the chilling Frozen that really delivered the promise in his particular brand of madness.  He’s even warping minds via television.  The FEARnet sitcom, Holliston, is based on his struggles as a young filmmaker with horror on his mind.  The filmmaker is not done with dazzling us.  With his new reality-based horror feature, Digging Up The Marrow, Green has audiences exactly where he wants them: begging for more. 

About a year ago, an unfinished version of the film went toe-to-toe with Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street at film critic Harry Knowles's annual Buttnumbathon 24-hour film celebration in Austin and, as reported by the attendees, it was received well by attendees.  Having seen the finished product, I can share in on the early enthusiasm with a solid two thumbs up.  For junkies of the genre, Digging Up The Marrow is the next horror fix guaranteed to get you high for days. 

This creature-themed party – with all the decorations designed by urban artist Alex Pardee – is one hell of a dark fantasy that is curious enough to explore the fears in us all; the ones we never even knew existed.  Framed around a found-footage narrative, Green stars as himself who confronts a wild-eyed fan, William Dekker (Ray Wise of Twin Peaks fame), with crazy assertions about his discovery of an underground city inhabited by the sickest of creatures.  His immediate plan is ridicule Dekker but, when weird and interesting things begin to happen, that ridicule turns into obsession. 

Co-starring Mike Gariss, Will Barratt, Kane Hodder, Josh Ethier, and Green’s own indefatigable enthusiasm, Digging Up The Marrow offers enough shock and schlock to have you screaming, laughing, and raking the coals of your own primal fears.  It’s maddening use of fervent energy keeps the whole production from being unbearably cheesy.  Green’s smarts behind the camera sees this as a film that stretches on beyond its low budget.  The abundant genre written into the adventure references essentially removes our collective skull-caps and massages the brain.  

What I personally love about the film is the amount of patience you need to get through the craziness of a late-night stakeout.  This is not for the teens and tweens who want and need the jump scares and kill shots immediately.  If you are a fan of the new school crap, sit this one out.  Green has been showing us his inspiration lies in the past and, with Digging Up The Marrow, he proves that, with shovel in hand, this one is going to roll out with rewards for the persistent audience.  This is white-knuckled tension for the true horror fans – especially the ones not afraid to laugh at themselves.

Digging Up The Marrow is as operatic as the found footage phenomenon gets. 


[tab title="Film Details"]

Digging Up the Marrow - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
98 mins
: Adam Green
Adam Green
Ray Wise, Adam Green, Will Barratt
: Horror
You will believe.
Memorable Movie Quote: "100 yards beneath the surface of the earth exists a metropolis that mirros ours."
Image Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 20, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 24, 2015
Synopsis: What if the ghastly images and abominations haunting our collective nightmares actually exist? Writer/director Adam Green (Hatchet) sets out to make a documentary exploring this tantalizing premise after being contacted by a mysterious man named William Dekker (Ray Wise). Dekker claims he can prove that “monsters are real” and insists these grotesque creatures are forgotten, hideously deformed humanoids inhabiting a vast, underground metropolis of the damned. Determined to expose the truth, Green embarks on a bone-chilling odyssey and gets more than he bargains for when he dares to go Digging Up the Marrow.


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Digging Up the Marrow - Movie Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 24, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

The solid Blu-ray release courtesy of Image Entertainment, gives the film a striking HD presentation.  The film, shot documentary-style with digital video cameras, retains its natural high definition presentation with Image’s crisp 1080p video transfer.   The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and it definitely contributes in a big way to the overall experience of the film in a number of moments.



  • The film itself also comes with a commentary from Adam Green, cinematographer/co-star Will Barratt, star Ray Wise and artist Alex Pardee, which is mostly dominated by Green as he talks about the film’s development, individual scenes and even gives away a major, previously-shrouded-in-mystery spoiler about Dekker’s motivation, although Wise, Barratt and Pardee’s periodic interjections keep things lighthearted as well.

Special Features:

As for the special features, the glowing gem of the disc is clearly the documentary, a near 30-minute documentary on the making of the film’s rogue gallery of monsters.  Every monster in the film gets a spotlight here, some even more so than their appearance in the film, and the process of how these monsters were made was stunning; clearly, Pardee, SFX supervisor Robert Pendergraft and sculptor Greg Aronowitz were clearly in love with bringing these monsters to life, and it shows.  The release also features a few deleted scenes from the film, each personally introduced by Green himself, with the most compelling being that of an extended take on Dekker’s first interview, which further establishes Ray Wise’s absolutely phenomenal performance even beyond what did make the film.

  • Deleted/Extended Scenes (31 min)
  • Monsters of the Marrow (29 min)
  • Trailer


[tab title="Trailer"]