Dig Two Graves, from writer director Hunter Adams is a slow-burn, gothic horror flick about a young girl obsessed with the loss of her older brother in a freak accident at the town swimming hole. In her sorrow three strangely prescient drifters claim to have a way to bring him back to life. This leads down a very dangerous, country road that ends up revealing far more about the town than any of its residents care to have out in the open and ends up being a pretty good, if not entirely perfect blend of Winter’s Bone and Something Wicked This Way Comes.
“The slower things happen, the scarier it will be when shit actually happens.”
This movie is slow. Its feet are firmly planted in ‘The slower things happen, the scarier it will be when shit actually happens.’ territory. This sub-genre of horror made so popular by movies like The Witch, The Babadook, and even the original The Blair Witch Project allows filmmakers to shoot big chunks of a movie with dick-all happening in the name of building atmosphere or tension. It can work though if you are hooked on the story and curious to see where things are headed. Thankfully, with Dig Two Graves the mystery being unraveled through flashback and present day is engaging enough to keep it moving along when you aren’t exactly weirded out.
Young tomboy Jake (Samantha Isler) feels more than just a little remorse after her older brother, the town’s golden child, dies doing an epic jump from a cliff into the lake in the nearby forest. The town mourns and life goes on, yet something sticks in Jake’s head, a sort of survivor’s guilt. Soon enough a trio of gypsies led by Wyeth (Troy Ruptash) begin to appear wherever Jake is wandering, deep in thought. Side note: We know Wyeth is the leader because he is the one wearing the top hat. They claim to know how to bring her brother back from the dead if she follows their exact instructions.
Sherriff Waterhouse (Ted Levine) along with his police force consisting of Proctor, (Danny Goldring) and their towns version of Barney Fife, Deputy Byron Freeman (Bradley Grant Smith), attempt to keep the young girl on the right track. She doesn’t stay in the right track of course. There wouldn’t be a movie if she was just like, “Yeah, ok. I will stay away from the steampunk knockabouts hiding in the woods.” But she doesn’t and we are better for it.
“Props to Isler for her capable performance that carries the heart of the film on its sleeve.”
Dig Two Graves is a serviceable mystery thriller with horror thrown in that is worth a watch. When the storyline falters or becomes a little too predictable, the beautiful cinematography and crisp sound design flesh out the details of this sleepy town with a dark secret. Props to Isler for her capable performance that carries the heart of the film on its sleeve. There really isn’t a bad turn in the entire film, but she is phenomenal.
I look at movies as investments of time and money. We as critics, are telling you, basically, what to spend both of them on. To me, the highest compliment you can give a film is paying full price in the evening to see it. Then, there are movies that are great but wouldn’t be worth a $20 IMAX ticket and $30 trip to the snackbar. In which case I suggest those be seen at a matinee. Then there are the movies that can wait until Netflix or VOD. Where your investment is minimal, yet it is still worth the time to enjoy at home after forking over a few bucks. Finally, there are those that really don’t deserve time or money. In that case I say Don’t bother.
Dig Two Graves straddles a fine line between VOD and Matinee worthy entertainment. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it is a piece of work that is worthy of watching. It’s entertaining, a little disturbing, mysterious, and worth 90 minutes of your time.
Dig Two Graves is worth a VOD rental* and maybe a little more.
* Norm’s Rating System: Full Price, Matinee, VOD, Don’t Bother