Independent cinema is more important than ever nowadays. In an age when mainstream movies are primarily prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events, independent movies offer audiences a much needed alternative to the general lack of originality being turned out by Hollywood’s Big Six studios. To that end, any time that a new, independent movie is released, it is worth at least some consideration. Such is the case with the independent horror thriller The Deeper You Dig. Originally released in 2019 by Wonder Wheel Productions, the movie was re-issued late last year on Blu-ray by Arrow Video as part of a two-movie collection that also features the movie The Hatred. Each feature was produced and directed by the husband/wife/daughter trio that is known as The Adams Family – John Adams, his wife Toby Poser and their daughter Zelda. For the sake of this review, the attention will remain on The Deeper You Dig. The 95-minute movie is a presentation that fans of paranormal stories and those of crime dramas find equally appealing. The noted audiences will agree that this independent offering is worth watching at least once. That is proven in part through its central story, which will be discussed shortly. While the story at the heart of The Deeper You Dig offers at least some appeal for audiences, its pacing becomes somewhat problematic as it progresses. This will be addressed a little later. Considering that Arrow Video’s recent release of this movie is a re-issue, its bonus content is just as worth noting as its primary content. It will be addressed later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Deeper You Dig. All things considered, they make this independent horror/crime thriller a moderately successful entry into its respective genres.
Arrow Video’s recent re-issue of Wonder Wheel Productions’ 2019 independent horror/crime thriller The Deeper You Dig is a presentation that fans of the noted genres will find worth watching at least once. That is proven in part through its story. The story centers on main character Ivy’s (Tobin) search for her daughter Echo (Tobin’s daughter Zelda) after she goes missing. Echo’s disappearance is the result of Kurt (Adams) accidentally hitting her with his truck one night after a night of drinking. Upon realizing that Echo has survived the incident, Kurt freaks out and decides to suffocate Echo so that she can’t go to the authorities to tell what happened. This on the surface might seem outlandish to some viewers. However, anyone who watches TV newsmagazine shows, such as 48 Hours, 20/20, and Dateline know better. Kurt’s actions are actually quite similar to those of so many of the killers presented in the stories in those shows. That even includes his heinous actions that follow after Echo’s ghost (or is it his own guilt?) gets to him. This aspect of the story – whether it was really Echo’s ghost or just Kurt’s own guilt – echoes hints of Edgar Allen Poe’s timeless tale, The Tell-Tale Heart, in which the main character kills a man, but ends up confessing because of his own guilt. Considering that there are people who have burned bodies to hide evidence, dismembered them, etc. in real life crime stories on the news, Kurt’s actions are heinous, but not unbelievable, sadly. Now keeping all of this in mind, there is at least one major plot hole to the story, that of the lack of damage to Kurt’s truck following the initial incident. Anyone who has ever heard and seen stories of people being hit by vehicles knows that regardless of how fast a vehicle is going, if it is going fast enough to even knock out a person, then there would be damage to a vehicle’s bumper, headlights, glass, etc. Audiences who look closely will notice that Kurt’s truck shows none of those damage signs. That damage is something that the police officers would have instantly noticed when they came to the house that Kurt was flipping. What’s more, when Kurt buys the rope and tarp at the convenience store, the clerk says nothing and does not even take any action. That aspect is not believable, either. Considering that a person was missing, and someone buys items that people have so commonly heard about in crimes on the noted TV news magazines, suspension of disbelief here is impossible. The whole thing ends in quite the unexpected fashion. That finale will not be revealed here, but it will definitely leave audiences scratching their heads. Yes, it turns the typical horror finale on its head, but also seems a bit convoluted at the same time. One can only wonder why the family decided to close out the story how it did. The lasting impression that it leaves will cause viewers to look back on the story and just be confused. The family discusses this aspect and more in its extensive discussion about the movie in the bonus content. That content will be discussed later. Going back to the story, all things considered in the story, the plot hole and contrivances aside, the story’s setup is believable, so it in itself will leave audiences wanting to watch. That it can be likened to Poe’s famed literary work makes for its own share of interest, too. Now for all that the story does to make The Deeper You Dig worth watching, the story itself does suffer from one problem, that of its pacing.
The pacing in The Deeper You Dig’s story starts off relatively stable, keeping the story moving along well. However, as it reaches its second act, in which Ivy starts actually looking for Echo, things dramatically slow down. It makes the movie’s 95-minute run time feel much longer. Much of the time is spent with Ivy going into some alternate realm after visiting an old friend in hopes of getting him to help her. The overly artsy approach and resultant look here greatly detracts from viewers’ engagement and entertainment. Thankfully though, the pacing finally picks back up in the third and final act when Ivy finally realizes Kurt is responsible for Echo’s disappearance and death. Though, that final sequence does get a bit too over the top in its weirdness. That is a story for another time though. It will be addressed in the discussion on the bonus content, too. Getting back to the issue of the pacing, if audiences can force themselves to endure the plodding second act, then they will make it easily through the third act and end. To that end, the pacing of The Deeper You Dig’s pacing is problematic, but luckily not enough to completely derail the story. The bonus content that accompanies the movie’s recent re-issue does its own share to make the movie worth watching at least once.
The bonus content that accompanies Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of The Deeper You Dig is extensive to say the least. There is a full, feature-length audio commentary that accompanies the movie, as well as a visual essay about the theme of family in this movie, and some smaller extras, such as a poster and music video. They all do their own share to entertain audiences, but the roughly 45-minute featurette, “At Home With The Adams Family” is easily the most important of the bonuses. This presentation reveals that Adams is an artist during one of the family’s discussions. This revelation would explain the movie’s sometimes overly artsy look. Adams also explains that “he likes violence” which would explain one of the movie’s most gruesome scenes in its final act. Yet another discussion that the family takes on in this featurette is the story’s finale. Poser explains that the unsettling finale was intentionally set. She explains that the family did what they did with the finale because they wanted to do something different. There is nothing wrong with doing something different, but this story’s finale will not leave audiences with a sense of fulfillment, but rather with confusion and even some anger at Ivy. These are just some of the topics that the Adams family tackles in its extensive discussion. There is also a discussion about the story’s overall lack of a soundtrack, which is itself another positive aspect to its presentation. That ambient sound versus a constant musical soundtrack actually does much to make the movie engaging and entertaining in its own right. Adams’ discussion on the use of sound in the movie is another interesting topic that will engage audiences. When these topics and the others addressed in the family’s interview are considered along with everything noted in the feature-length audio commentary, the whole of that content works with the movie’s general story to make The Deeper You Dig worth watching at least once even despite the pacing problems and its one notable plot hole.
Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Wonder Wheel Productions’ 2019 independent horror/crime thriller The Deeper You Dig is a presentation that will appeal widely to fans of the noted genres. That is due in large part to the movie’s story. The story mirrors so many of the real life murder stories that TV news magazine shows, such as 48 Hours, 20/20, and Dateline have run throughout their runs. To that end, as brutal as the story is, it actually is believable at least to a point. What happens to Kurt as a result of that central story shows influence from Edgar Allen Poe’s timeless tale, The Tell–Tale Heart. Of course for all the ability of viewers to suspend their disbelief in watching the story, it is not without its problems. It does suffer from one major plot hole that otherwise negates everything in the story. The pacing in the story’s second act detracts from its engagement and entertainment, too. Even with those issues in mind, they are not enough to completely derail the movie. Its collective bonus content makes for its own share of engagement and entertainment. Keeping that in mind, that content and the movie’s story form a foundation for the story that makes it worth watching at least once.
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