Digging Up the Marrow (Blu-ray Review)

Digging Up The MarrowWhat 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.  

Digging Up The Marrow


Adam Green (Hatchet Trilogy, Frozen, Holliston Series) is back with his later horror flick entitled Digging Up the Marrow. With a nasty sounding title like that you know you’re going to get some sort of “icky” factor, right? Yes and no. According to Adam himself the film was four years in the making since it’s intermixed with footage of him visiting several conventions nationwide and several of his actor/director friends chiming in here and there. The bulk of the story is that Dekker (Ray Wise), a former (allegedly) Boston police detective is said to have found a secret location in which actual “monsters” live.

Yes, monsters inhabit the Earth and they are centrally located in the French part of the San Fernando Valley of Chatsworth California. Yeah, when Dekker contacts Adam for a meeting about this potential land find, Adam jumps at the opportunity and brings his trusty cinematographer, Will Barratt, along for the ride. Will and Adam pretty much set Dekker up as a nut at first until Dekker takes them both to the hiding grounds in the woods near an old cemetery. That’s where the creatures of the night come out to play. Dekker nicknames the haunted locale The Marrow or The Marrows. Pick one. It’s a place where the forgotten are said to live uninterrupted by the normal folks of the outside world.

If you’re starting to get a Nightbreed vibe then you’re not alone. Digging Up the Marrow plays sort of like a side-quel or cousin of Nightbreed but is pretty much self-contained to these characters and their experiences. Is Dekker a loon? Are Adam and Will being taken for a ride? You’ll have to dig in yourself for the truth. Personally, I really enjoyed the film a lot! I still need to go back and watch some of Green’s films but having recently binged watched the second season of Holliston on Blu-ray I was ready for some horror madness.

Digging Up the Marrow is filmed in that faux/mockumentary style of hand held camerawork and natural lighting. It’s not a film in the traditional sense. Digging Up the Marrow was inspired the artwork of artist Alex Pardee. Some of the drawings and final creature work were pretty impressive for a film shot on the low end of the spectrum. Pardee seems to be obsessed with colorful renditions of creatures that could have spawned from The Thing and that’s okay with me.

I will say that the saving grace of the film is Ray Wise. He commits himself (no pun intended) the role of Dekker that you truly believe this world that is being inhabited by grotesqueries and what not is real. He definitely believes it and makes Adam and Will believe it and since Adam and Will are our link to this world, we as viewers, will also believe it. Outside of a few quibbles here and there Digging Up the Marrow is an effective little thriller that should be checked out and watched at night for maximum effect. It’s indeed creepy to the extreme.


Digging Up The Marrow


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 & 1.33:1 (convention scenes are full screen)

Clarity/Detail: The majority of the film, being a documentary looks great and all, but the scenes at the conventions are a tad grainy and soft.

Depth: The levels of depth presented on this Blu-ray make me see lovely Chatsworth in an all-new light. It makes want to never be caught in the woods up there, because they are downright scary, as this Blu-ray can attest to.

Black Levels: Black levels outside and in darkly lit interiors do look great – I didn’t notice any hints of compression or crush unless it was added on purpose.

Color Reproduction: Alex Pardee’s artwork is bright and vivid while retaining that dark edge, sort of like the movie does.

Flesh Tones: Everyone looks great in terms of complexion. Only when stuff starts flying everywhere do people get a little on the pasty side.

Noise/Artifacts: The scenes at the conventions are the most problematic but most of the footage involving the documentary look great and are free from most anomalies.


Digging Up The Marrow


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics: This near-reference track will blow you away! It’s average run-of-the-mill when it comes to tackling the everyday happenings of Green and Barratt but when darkness falls over the cemetery all bets are off. I nearly crapped myself during the first reveal of one of the creatures and began cursing shortly thereafter, because it was unexpected. Hell, I’m used to scares but this one was not expected.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE bass channel is exquisite but only rears its ugly head in very few spots. The majority of the film is docu-style; so low-end bass rumblings aren’t needed.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels compliment the overall soundscape of the film. You will here stuff creeping about in total darkness and it really does feel like shit is actually walking right by your head. The level of depth in the surround field is astonishing.

Dialogue Reproduction: Yes, this may be a horror film per se, but it’s still mainly dialogue driven. Dialogue levels are clean, clear, and crisp. I did not detect any instances of echoing or clipping. You will hear the blood curdling screams of humans and monsters in all of their lossless glory.


Digging Up The Marrow



Digging Up the Marrow is fully loaded with extras. The highlights of the Blu-ray are the commentary with Adam Green, Will Barratt, Alex Pardee, and Ray Wise. It’s a very fun and kick back affair. The second cherry on top would have to be the 30-minutes of deleted scenes with Adam Green commenting on every single scene and why they were cut out. There’s a really cool featurette that covers the monsters of the marrow and another cool featurette that touches on the creation of the monsters of the marrow. That one was my favorite. These special features remind me of what Robert Rodriguez does for his films. They’re fully loaded to the brim and are entertaining and educational as hell. Please don’t let what looks to be sparse special features fool you. It will take you hours to get through, because they’re very comprehensive. Enjoy.

  • Extended & Deleted Scenes (HD)
  • Monsters of the Marrow (HD)
  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Adam Green, Artist Alex Pardee, Actor Ray Wise, and Cinematographer Will Barratt
  • Trailer (HD)


Digging Up The Marrow


Digging Up the Marrow was very enjoyable and did have its share of shocks and scares. The Blu-ray is above average in technical terms and blows the roof off the house with the special features. Digging Up the Marrow has a short running time but the overall package sets it apart from the usual horror schlock out there, because it is Adam Green after all, and the man loves horror movies and the Blu-ray format! Digging Up the Marrow is recommended.


Digging Up the Marrow is released on Blu-ray & DVD March 24, 2015


Digging Up The Marrow


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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