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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Dig Two Graves movie review: and bury this deep

Dig Two Graves red light

MaryAnn’s quick take…

Muddy and muddled 70s-style backwoods gothic Americana only comes to life when it rises to the accidentally silly. Little more than an incoherent showreel.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): desperate for movies about girls
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller,” they said. “A young girl’s obsession,” they said. “A nightmarish journey,” they said. I would like to see that movie. Dig Two Graves is not it. Young teen Jake (Samantha Isler) is not obsessed over the accidental death of her brother, just normally sad. When she meets the creepy carnival-esque trickster magicians who offer to bring her brother back from the dead, she mostly runs away from them — maybe that’s the “journey”? — and when she isn’t running away, she’s remarkably matter-of-fact about them. American writer-director Hunter Adams, in his second feature, seems to believe that muddy and muddled 70s-style exploitation imagery of backwoods gothic Americana,tweet with some satanic rituals and gypsy magic mixed it, make a movie, and yet remarkably, even this would-be luridness is yawn-inducing dull: it only comes to bit of life when it rises to the accidentally silly.tweet What a shame to waste such a great actor as Ted Levine (Bleed for This), here playing Jake’s sheriff grandfather, on what is little more than an incoherent showreel. The title doesn’t even make sense. It’s a Chinese proverb, a warning about seeking revenge (ie, you end up dead too), but it’s not clear to whom that title-warning is addressed. Jake is not seeking revenge, nor is her grandfather. It might be applicable to the tricksters, yet if they are meant to be not villainous monsters but somehow sympathetic anti-heroes, then boy oh boy, that does not come across at all. Incoherent may be actually too kind.

Click here for my ranking of this and 2017’s other releases.

red light 1 star

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Dig Two Graves (2017) | directed by Hunter Adams
US/Can release: Mar 24 2017 (VOD same day)

MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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