Very often, when a movie is unique and different, individually can be both the strongest and weakest aspect. Last year’s Swiss Army Man, for example, seemed to alternate every minute between being charmingly offbeat and alienating. Such is the case with Dig Two Graves, the new genre defying supernatural gothic-horror indie thriller from debut director Hunter Adams. Often times, the deeply complex plotline had me on the edge of my seat. I was truly unsure of where the story would go next, and pleasantly surprised by the wildly unexpected turns the plot would take. Other moments, however, seemed to take just one step too far over this incredibly fine line, and had me thinking “gee, these characters certainly are covered in a great deal of snake blood.” So again, this type of unusual storyline can be a blessing and a curse.
The 70’s set film mainly focuses on Jake, a young girl grieving her brother’s recent death. She soon finds herself entangled in the deep dark secrets held by the people closest to her, particularly her grandfather (an awesome, aged-up Ted Levine doing his best Jeff Bridges impression). When three mysterious strangers appear and offer Jake a chance to reunite with her brother, she wrestles with the moral implications of the opportunity she’s been presented with.
While Dig Two Graves does occasionally become too strange for its own good, the unpredictable nature of the plot frequently worked for me. Having literally no idea what would happen next really got me into the intensity of the movie. In many ways, Dig Two Graves is a very well made film with a great grasp of tone. From the opening shot, I was on edge. There’s an overwhelming sense of dread that hangs over so much of movie, and in the case of a horror movie like this, that’s a great accomplishment. This intense tone coupled with the visual eeriness of the cinematography really elevated the backwoods family-secrets revenge thriller plot in a way that can get under your skin. The supernatural elements are still occasionally off-putting, but the movie as a whole is pretty spot-on spooky. The biggest problem I have with the movie is honestly just in its rambling nature, which fortunately didn’t detract too much from the film overall.
I enjoyed a great deal of Dig Two Graves. The performances are all great, especially Samantha Isler, the lead girl, who gives her role a lot more complexity than the typical audience-surrogate horror movie kid is played with. It’s visually beautiful, and more often than not pretty haunting. Especially when considering the low budget nature of the film, Dig Two Graves is about as thrilling as thrillers get.