It’s always disappointing to see a film with a great premise crash and burn before your very eyes. As a big fan of monster movies and creature features, I thought that Digging up the Marrow had some potential. But aside from a few memorable scares, this is a film that seems to exist solely to increase director Adam Green’s brand. If you’ve never heard of Green before this movie, you’re likely to learn a lot about him in the film’s 98 minute runtime. By playing himself, Green makes sure that every single one of his previous projects is mentioned onscreen several times. You’ll hear him talk about Hatchet, Frozen and especially his horror/comedy TV show, Holliston. It’s incredibly frustrating because if Green had spent more time on the monsters and less time on promotion, this could have been a solid horror flick.

The film begins with a shameless introduction that describes Green’s production company, something that has little to no impact on the rest of the film. But once Green and his cinematographer Will Barratt meet with the subject of their “documentary”, things actually get somewhat interesting. William Dekker (Ray Wise) claims to have found an entrance to something he calls The Marrow, or an underground civilization where all monsters live. Occasionally he spots these monsters roaming around outside this entrance and he wants Green and Barratt to document his findings. Having always hoped for the existence of monsters to be real, Green is initially optimistic. But when they begin snooping a little too closely, things turn from fun to deadly.

Ray Wise is great as William Dekker, making this potentially crazy kook feel genuinely believable. The scenes where he describes some of the creatures that he has seen are a highlight, as are any of the scenes where we actually see a monster. The creature effects are pretty hit and miss, but seeing the monsters is a lot of fun and they provide a few genuinely good scares. But, unfortunately, even though the monsters are the main attraction, they only receive a few minutes of screen time. The majority of the film is spent with Green (in a terrible performance), juggling his many different projects while also trying to decide if Dekker is actually telling the truth. The ending of the film is very uninspired, but it’s the constant self-promotion by Green that really bogs the film down. The decision to have numerous characters wear clothing that displays his other projects may have been done to create realism, but it’s very distracting and I think Green may have had other intentions in mind. Maybe that’s just me being cynical, but Digging up the Marrow is a waste of a fun horror premise regardless. It feels less like a horror movie and more like a feature length Adam Green commercial.

Digging up the Marrow receives 1.5/4

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