Digging Up the Marrow ★★★★

There is a joy that lingers all throughout the movie. This movie, in some minor ways, explores why we enjoy monsters, why we are drawn to them, and Adam, as himself, perfectly portrays that kind of excitement and fascination we have with monsters and the idea of them.

The mystery aspect helps as they kind of explore the potential psychology of these particular monsters, but it is Adam's excitement and charisma that carries the film. It has that typical found footage pacing, but it does know when to spice things up to keep your attention. This is not a movie that saves everything for the last third, although that last third is excellent. The acting is good, if uneven (more on that later).

The effects are very nice. Most of them are practical. Some might have beeen CG, I really couldn’t tell. Also, this movie is pretty tame. This might be a good film to share with kids and pre-teens. It will scare them, it will spark their imagination, but there really isn’t any gore or nudity to speak of (There’s one scene but it doesn’t really count, trust me).

So there are aspects of this movie that I’m wishy washy over because both of these things make complete and total sense, but…..

The first is Ray Wise as one of the major characters. He’s a very notable and recognizable character actor, so you see him, and it immediately undercuts the realism of the movie. The reason that they went with him and not an unknown, however, is because they didn’t really want this to be viewed as a found footage film. This movie is not supposed to be viewed as realistic, and that’s perfectly understandable. However, he is acting. The way he talks seems scripted in that it is so fluid. Surrounded by other actors it wouldn’t be an issue, but surrounded by real people trying to come off as real people, it is quite noticeable.

The other not quite problem is the conceptual design of the monsters. I feel like the monsters break their own rules somewhat. It is stated that the monsters might be deformed humans that, at some point, are recruited into the larger world of deformed humans. However, some of the deformities depicted are 100% improbable (impossible isn’t even worth being a word). On the other hand, the deformed humans thing is presented as a theory, and not fact, so the movie kind of squeezes by on that. Prolific artist Alex Pardee, responsible to the art and design of these creatures, is responsible for much of the story, so it makes sense that his designs would play a large part here.

This is a good film. It it a joyous celebration of monsters, and not without its moments of intensity.