Four siblings move to America with their mother to escape a troubled past. When she dies, they vow to stay together, no matter what. Seeking refuge in an old house after she dies, they soon discover the house is plagued by something more sinister, a ghostly presence which torments what’s left of their family, while a lawyer threatens their pact. The four must stand together or be torn apart forever in this chilling thriller. From the producers of Pan’s Labyrinth and starring George Mackay (Captain Fantastic), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Charlie Heaton (“Stranger Things”) and Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness).
Marrowbone is set in 1969 and stars MacKay as Jack, the oldest of four children who have just moved to America with their dying mother, played by Nicola Harrison. After she passes, Jack decides that they must stay inside their huge, secluded house until he reaches the age of 21, when he can become his siblings’ legal guardian, if not, the state would split them apart. As the rest of the children hide in the home to avoid detection, Jack occasionally goes into town by himself, but the family grows increasingly concerned that some malevolent spirit inhabits the upstair’s of their house.
After the mother’s death, things appear to be going well, despite their loss until an unexpected visitor arrives six months later. The film shows the next summer with the children still living in the dilapidated house with all the mirrors hidden or covered to protect them from the ghost upstairs, which has apparently been gone for several months but they fear its return. Now only Jack visits the local town to sell baked goods and take care of any necessities. He is also courting Allie, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, a local librarian. The rather calm life that they have created becomes disrupted when the town lawyer, Tom, (who is also interested in Allie) comes around to finalize arrangements for the property transfer to Rose and starts becoming nosey. Jack finds himself under pressure when the ghost returns and Tom suspects that Jack is lying and he tries to blackmail the children.
I wouldn’t really call this film as much a horror story as a psychological thriller/suspense/drama with a few very good jump scares thrown in. It’s a downright haunting tale with an incredible surprise twist ending that you would never expect. No blood and guts, cursing or nudity in this one either, so it’s definitely a good one for the entire family. The acting by the children was amazing, all of them did a fantastic job here and none overacted on any of the horror involved. So mainly, Marrowbone largely avoids the cheap scares and fake-outs that often plague haunted house movies. There are definitely some tense scenes that are quite startling.
Director, Sergio G. Sanchez stated that much like any haunted house story, the physical dwelling is an important character in the film. Marrowbone was filmed in Asturias, on the Northwest coast of Spain, in a 15th-century former palace. “We had to cover the entire house with wood. I really wanted this story to feel truthful, so I wanted a real house where we could move in and out and where the actors would have the liberty to move around,” he says. “The house felt like a real place. I missed that in The Orphanage, which was shot entirely on a sound stage,” also in Asturias. “To have these wonderful actors locked up in a small town in rural Asturias, living in a bubble that’s similar to what the characters create in film, wasn’t intentional,” he says. But it worked.
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Studio: Magnolia Entertainment
Starring: George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton
MPAA Rated: R
Directors: Sergio G. Sánchez
Reviewed by: Sarah Hopkins
Our Rating: 4.0 /5
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