Dig Two Graves
After 13-year-old Jacqueline Mather (Samantha Isler) loses her brother in a mysterious drowning accident, she is soon visited by three moonshiners who offer to bring him back to life, but at a grim cost. The girl develops an unnatural obsession with her brother’s death that leads her on a nightmarish journey where she is faced with the deadly proposition. As the dark history of her grandfather, Sheriff Waterhouse is unearthed, the true intentions of the moonshiners come to light.
Dig Two Graves is a 2014 independent gothic thriller that was first released on October 17, 2014, at the New Orleans Film Festival, and became officially released in the United States on March 24, 2017. The film was executive produced by actor and director Larry Fessenden and written by Hunter Adams. The high-quality of the film’s low-budget production was largely made possible by not only Fessenden’s help, but also by members of its crew being selected by the Independent Filmmaker Project, by working with the Southern Illinois University film department, and by involving the community of the film’s Southern Illinois location. The film’s cast includes Ted Levine, Samantha Isler, Danny Goldring, and Troy Ruptash. The film, distributed by Area 23a, released in select USA theaters and VOD on March 24, 2017.
Set in the mid-’40s, the film is about a young girl who is haunted by the death of her older brother and is offered a bargain by a strange trio of gypsies to bring him back, at a steep price of course. We’re dealing with a cult of mysterious gypsies, and people haunted by dark secrets of their past, dark and black magic, with everything tied together with a very satisfying ending. It opens with Deputy Waterhouse and Sheriff Proctor driving to a nearby quarry with two bodies hidden in their truck. Waterhouse takes a necklace off one of the bodies and they dump the two corpses off a rock ledge and into the water. Waterhouse then holds Proctor at gunpoint and demands he get rid of his badge, telling Proctor that he’s no longer fit to be sheriff. Proctor is then shown throwing his badge over the cliff.
Fast forward to the 70s where Jacqueline Mathers, who everyone just calls Jake, and her brother Sean, head to what looks like the same quarry. Sean insists she gets over her fear of jumping into the water below and offers to jump with her. Sean jumps but Jake becomes scared and at the last minute lets go of Sean’s hand. Jake watches as her brother plunges into the water below but doesn’t resurface. In a panic, she runs for help, tripping along the way and gashing her forehead, which leaves a pretty big scar. Deputy Freeman is seen informing Waterhouse, now the new sheriff, that his grandson has drowned in the quarry.
In a series of flashbacks, we see the events that led to the opening scene. A younger Sheriff Proctor witnesses the gypsy family, living on his property, engaging in strange rituals. He threatens the mother with arrest unless she pays him. When she says they have no money, he sexually assaults her. Deputy Waterhouse sees the young gypsy boy, Wyeth, and his frightened brothers, outside. Waterhouse enters the house and finds Proctor raping the boys’ mother. Proctor later returns to the cabin with food only to be confronted by the husband who beats him and runs him off. Proctor returns with Waterhouse and kills the father. As Waterhouse protests, the mother shoots at the two policemen. Waterhouse shoots back and fatally wounds her. Proctor shoots the father in the head and aims at Wyeth before Waterhouse stops him. Wyeth kneels over his mother, who whispers something to him before dying. Waterhouse and Proctor then take the two bodies to the quarry.
Cinematically Dig Two Graves is a decent movie, the mysterious noir aesthetics is just right, most scenes are breathtakingly crafted. What it really lacks is a more authentic and fluent way of storytelling to go with it. From a pop culture fanatic’s point of view, elements found in Dig Two Grave rings more than just a few bells. The costumes look a little off, and I don’t know if they’re purposely making one of the guys look like Lincoln. The small town which is the setting for the unfolding drama is peopled by an assortment of characters, from seemingly everyday folks to those living on the periphery of society, gypsies, and cultists of the serpent. Their lives intertwine as a 30-year old wrong finally takes its toll on the town. Overall I really liked the film, and Ted Levine is as always excellent no matter what role he’s to play. The movie is definitely worth watching and I suggest seeing it at least once.
Title: Dig Two Graves
Release Date: March 24, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Drama
Starring: Ted Levine, Samantha Isler, Danny Goldring
MPAA Rated: NR
Directors: Hunter Adams
Reviewed by: Sarah Hopkins
Our Rating: 4.0 /5
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