GORE IN THE STORE
THE DEEPER YOU DIG ****
Directed by John Adams and Toby Poser.
Starring Toby Poser, John Adams, Zelda Adams.
Horror, US, 95 minutes.
Released in the U.K. on Blu-Ray on October 5th from Arrow Video
The aftermath and cover up of a fatal road accident are just the starting point for THE DEEPER YOU DIG, a striking low budget feature from the family unit of writing and directing duo Toby Poser and John Adams. Poser and Adams also share the screen with their daughter Zelda Adams. This collaboration, the latest in a string of low budget features, is ostensibly a ghost story that looks at grief, guilt and identity in a nicely shot package that carries an atmosphere and visual style all its own that more than holds its own against its bigger budgeted stable mates.
Poser and Zelda play the close-knit mother and daughter duo Ivy and Echo. Once a genuine and promising tarot card reader Ivy now peddles her skills claiming to contact the dead for the lonely and the desperate. As Kurt, John Adams plays a house renovator new to the wintry small-town Ivy and Echo call home. Whilst drink driving, John accidentally runs over Echo. Stricken with guilt he attempts to dispose of Echo’s body only to find that her spirit has no interest in leaving him alone whatsoever. Ivy, desperate to find out what has happened to her daughter, reverts back to her spiritual ways that will set her on a collision course with the increasingly unhinged Kurt.
Whilst it may be low in budget it certainly does not lack in atmosphere or ambition. This is a chilly ghost story nicely complemented by its striking snow bound photography. Its spare style often tips over into the surreal as Ivy’s search for her daughter leads her into a series of supernatural visions. This is nicely complimented by its dedicated performances from its core trio. As Kurt, John Adams gives a nuanced portrayal of a man whose guilt is twisting him from the inside, a different portrayal than the usual guilty and murderous antagonist often found in ghost stories.
This is all beautifully presented in a crisp and clear transfer that pushes its wintry atmosphere to the fore. Arrow Video have gone all out here in bringing this personal vision to the masses with a nicely stacked set of extras including an extra disc featuring the family’s previous horror offering THE HATRED. Directed solely by John, this is another tale of supernatural vengeance, this time set during the civil war. Lower in budget it still shows the ambition and skill of this talented family with its even more impressive location work and photography as well as its literate script and poetic voiceover that comes across as if Terence Malick embarked on a career in low budget horror rather than the dreamy arthouse path he forged for himself.
As well as a joint commentary on the main feature by Adams and Poser there are a wealth of other extras including music videos from their own band, a special effects breakdown and in-depth video essay from Anton Bitel that examines the themes of family not only in this film but in other genre offerings as well. Aside from an interview recorded at 2019’s FrightFest where the film made a splash there is a lengthy Q&A with the trio that illustrates their close familial and creative ties. All in all, it is a quality package that could entice the uninitiated into following this family’s future creative endeavours and also attract those with an eye for the more striking, original and offbeat side of low budget horror.