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The Deeper You Dig Main

The Deeper You Dig Movie Review

Written by Becky Roberts

Released by Wonder Wheel Productions


Directed by John Adams and Toby Poser
Written John Adams and Toby Poser
2019, 92 minutes
UK release date: 23rd August

Toby Poser as Ivy
John Adams as Kurt
Zelda Adams as Echo


The Deeper You Dig is a family film, but not in the sense that it could sandwich Mary Poppins and Paddington on film night – far from it in fact. An Adams Family production (under their own Wonder Wheel Productions studio), it’s solely the work of John Adams and his wife Toby Poser – co-writers, co-directors and co-starrers – and their daughter Zelda Adams, the film’s third and final director and major cast member.

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Nine years after they “bought a camera and some mics and hit the highway”, we have the family’s fifth film in six years, a wintry supernatural chiller set in their home in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The Deeper You Dig sees the lives of a tarot card-reading mother, her 14-year-old goth daughter and their reclusive neighbour radically change in the aftermath of a fatal roadside accident in their small rural town. As the trio become circumstantially entwined, and the line between life and death blurs around them, we’re starkly (and cleverly by the both literal and figurative title) reminded that dark secrets often have darker consequences.

It’s hard to ignore the story behind the family-run, three-strong cast production, but, while low-budget, to mistake it as unassuming or amateur would be a terrible injustice. Where it lacks the self-indulgence afforded by a large production, it humbly commits to gorgeous cinematography and an indie-perfect execution few projects of this kind pull off so well.

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Indeed, going in blind, as I did, it’s clear to see that the Adams family have well honed a homegrown appeal.

Its accomplishments aren’t few but peak in airtight atmospherics, the bleakness of the white, winter-stricken landscape the roots from which the supernatural storytelling can feed.

There’s snowy shots you’d expect in a high-brown Nordic noir – including a handful of memorable poster-perfect frames you wouldn’t say no to owning a postcard of – and the desolation is well exasperated by the poignancy of one of the film’s few locations: the run-down warehouse being done up by the neighbour – which is actually the Adams’ current renovation project.

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This bone-rattler isn’t bounded by the sheer realism of its geography and tragedy, though. The interjections of sketchy and absurd dream-like sequences conjured during the tarot readings, dramatically pitched against black canvas, are bewitching – and almost entirely avoid being detrimentally digressional. For the most part the plot stays grounded and focused while suspending intrigue – which can also be said of the three lead cast members.

The Deeper You Dig keeps it in the family, and the affair is a compelling one.


Movie: Fourstars Cover
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About The Author
Becky Roberts
Staff Reviewer - UK
Becky has keenly devoured horror most of her life, harnessing a particular interest in Asian genre film... which she's written a 12,000-word dissertation on if anyone's up for a bit of light reading!
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