Dig Two Graves Movie Review: Gothic Horror Disappoints

Supernatural mystery looks beautiful but loses itself in an unimaginative script.
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Standing on a cliff above an old quarry two men, Proctor (Gabriel Cain) and Waterhouse (Ted Levine), pull two corpses out of their car and throw them over the edge.  When the deed is done, Waterhouse points a gun at Proctor and tells him he’s no longer sheriff.

Thirty years later, Sean (Ben Schneider) and sister Jake (Samantha Isler) stand on the same cliff daring each other to jump into the lake below.  They agree to do it together but at the last moment Jake chickens out letting Sean fall alone.  He never comes back up.  Dig Two Graves links these two deaths and the quarry together in interesting ways.

With her parents still grieving and unable to give her much support, Jake who is wrecked with guilt, spends most of her nights at her grandfather’s house.  Sheriff Waterhouse takes her in and brings her comfort.  He seems to be a good man now, but one who also feels the weight of guilt from the things he does in his youth.

Walking home one day down a deserted roadway, she is accosted by an odd stranger named Wyeth (Troy Ruptash) and his two pals.  He’s does some magic with a bag and a snake and tells her that her brother isn’t really dead, but hard to find.  He takes her to his gypsy-voodoo house and profers a bargain.  If she’ll send another kid over that quarry cliff, he’ll bring back her brother.

Whether she’ll do it or not is the film’s central question.  But why they want her to is the more interesting one.  Unfortunately, the answer is not all that fulfilling.  It comes back to those two bodies from the opening and some choices Waterhouse made while following Proctor’s lead as sheriff.  There’s a lot of mystical nonsense thrown in alongside some really trite hippy-gypsy-snake-handling shite that lost its cinematic cool sometime in the '80s.

Hunter Adams' direction is well done and the cinematography by Eric Maddison has a nice Southern Gothic feel to it.  Levine is as reliable as ever and he brings a warmth to the character while still enabling you to feel his deep internal pain. It's the script (by Adams and Jeremy Phillips) that lets us down.  Adams made a short film with the same basic story years earlier and it has the feeling of them trying to stretch it out but unable to come up with enough fill.  Its short 85=minute run time still felt too long.

There is enough to like in Dig Two Graves to make it worth seeing.  The cinematography alone is worth the watching.  But the story never moves beyond tired cliche to match its interesting premise.

Dig Two Graves opens in theaters and On Demand on Friday, March 24, 2017.

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