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  • Review by Leon Mason

MOVIE REVIEW: The Deeper You Dig

Let us begin with the facts here: most people stream films nowadays. Who makes the effort to have the product in your hand, watch the film repeatedly and dig through the extras that Blu-Ray and DVD contain? Many distribution companies make efforts to keep relevant by going that extra mile, and making what they sell collectable. Arrow Video are the leaders in this market, and with The Deeper You Dig, they have outdone themselves. Not many people in this country (and most likely anywhere outside of the States) would have heard of this film, never mind seen it, if it hadn’t been given their seal of approval.

Firstly you get the film itself, being the latest collaboration between the wife, husband and teen daughter team of the Adams Family. Together they are a formidable squad, and this is not only their most professional-looking work to date, but shows the direction they are heading in, with a much deeper exploration of the themes they have covered in past efforts. The story begins with a stranger in a rural area who has moved in to do up and sell an abandoned house. It is likely he is here to make a quick buck and then move on. Things take a turn, and an accident under the influence takes events on a tragic and guilt-ridden path. A mother has to grieve for her missing daughter, and all three of these people will connect in unexpected ways.

The house being merely held together by its outer walls, and the state of disrepair, are a metaphor for the man himself. As he attempts to deal with his circumstances, we see how this is more than a ghost story: it questions gender, identity and fluidity. Being a film working on a few levels, multiple viewings will help to see what is being commented on, but also on first viewing a few things are abundantly clear - this family is extremely talented. To find out how they work together with their own individual skills, and how intricate the mix is, the extras on the disc provide a lot of entertainment and enlightenment. It is required viewing to watch the film again after watching the multitude of interviews and listening to the fascinating commentary. You will discover much more, and see how the esoteric elements are not just fluff, distraction and filler. There are many concepts and ideas, but it feels refined and not overstuffed. So many contemporary horror films are about impact, and repeat viewings only leave a dull thump, with a pfff of air released as it lands.

To understand a bit more about the themes of family, and how this small group of people create art on a daily level, you have plenty more to be going on with. There are music videos, and a Frightfest special, as well as the aforementioned documentaries and extensive interviews. You really get to know what makes these people tick, why they make art, and the process of making films with little money (as well as completely independent of the industry).

Then we have a 2nd disc with a whole other film, The Hatred. The only film in their cannon that moves away from the family dynamic. A dark western that is more drama than horror, but no less hard-hitting, and with gloriously violent moments. Again, it is shot around the local area that they live in, with their own home acting as a base. The photographic aspect, and atmosphere of the rural disconnect are this time contained within a period setting. Well worth checking out. Low budget does not have to mean mindless crap.

Put all this together with stunning artwork, a poster and an informative booklet and this is a highly recommended purchase. Another winner from Arrow, and again they have extras so up to date they are lockdown-relevant. Do yourself a favour and pick this up for your collection. Keep films alive.

The Deeper You Dig is out now on Arrow Films

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