The Deeper You Dig (Arrow Films)

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The Deeper You Dig is a dark horror film from 2019 that has just been released on a double Blu-Ray set from Arrow films. On the surface it’s almost a psychological horror film, but there is a real supernatural side to it.

Interestingly enough, the three main actors in the film are all family members. Toby Poser and John Adams are a married couple who not only star in the film, but also co-wrote and directed it. Zelda Adams who plays the daughter of Poser’s character is the actors’ real-life daughter.

When the daughter in the film is killed by John Adams’ character, the world of the living and the dead intersect in unusual ways. The movie is beautiful in so many ways, but it also has a very ugly side to it. There is a real paranormal side to it that doesn’t fit into the typical haunting side of things, but does have elements of it.

While I find the movie fascinating, and it’s not the kind of thing that you’ll watch and just forget, it’s not without its flaws. There are some artistic scenes that are a bit hard to understand. I guess they are supposed to be somehow showing the world beyond the veil of death in symbolic scenes that take place inside the mind of the mother. They just come across as a bit odd and confusing to me, though.

Still, those parts are definitely not enough to take away from the greatness of the movie. This is an odd, but also intriguing story that leaves you thinking. It manages to do it with some genuine horror. That movie makes up most of the first disc of the set. There are a lot of extras, though, including interviews, music videos and more.

The second Blu-Ray features a different movie, The Hatred. It came out the year before The Deeper You Dig, and is definitely related to it. While Poser is not in the movie (although she did some of the camera work), Zelda Adams is one of the two leads in the film. John Adams not only played the other lead role, but also directed and did the music, but under the name of John Law. The cast also includes Zelda’s sister Lulu in a smaller role.  

It has a lot in common with the other movie beyond the cast, though. There is a real artistic quality to the film. In fact, that’s even more apparent in this one. Much of it is narrated by Zelda Adams, lending an almost poetic air.

The movie takes place in the late 1800s, and is a story of hatred and vengeance. In fact, you never hear the names of any of the characters, but that is how the two main characters are listed in the credits. Other characters include Righteousness, Greed, Betrayal, Sloth, etcetera. You get the idea. This is a movie that is largely symbolic.

It works as a sort of ghost story, while also a morality play. It is set in the late 1800s, and as such everyone in the movie walks everywhere. That’s one problem with the film. It seems like half the screen time is just footage of people walking. That said, there is still plenty to like about it. Oddly enough, one of those is just the image of Zelda Adams (Hatred) that we get frequently in the film. Shrouded all in black, wearing a top hat and standing expressionless, there is something deeply iconic and imposing about her character. I could see that image working well on merchandising.

So, as an overall review, I would say that both of these movies share an artistic vision that works pretty well a lot of the time, but can become a little tiresome or confusing at other points – at least in terms of horror movie story telling. Both are dark and also deep in terms of meaning. Yet, they work as slow moving, somber horror tales. The older film is not nearly as successful as the first, but then again, it’s the bonus. It does work very well in terms of the artistic angle, just not as well as a horror narrative. I would also add that the second disc also includes some music videos. Gary Hill

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