The best part about watching a movie you've never heard of, haven't seen a trailer for, and have no idea what the story is about is discovering those hidden gem films that you might've otherwise skipped over. Maybe the trailer wasn't flashy enough, but there wasn't enough jump scares, or maybe it looked too "low budget" for your liking. But some of the best movies I've ever stumbled across, I literally stumbled across, threw down my money and shot into the dark. Such is the case with one of the best movies I've seen this year: THE DEEPER YOU DIG. Played in the right viewing atmosphere, the film is an unsettling, unnerving, dark and twisted mental breakdown rollercoaster for not just the characters, but for the viewers as well. If you're even a slight fan of uneasy, sometimes hard to watch trippy horror films (think The VVitch, Midsommar, Hagazussa), The Deeper You Dig will be right up your alley and a necessary viewing. I jumped into the movie not knowing anything about it besides the poster art, and man... what a journey this film takes you on. With a main cast of only three people, the film sets a tone, pretty much right out of the gate and holds it all the way until the end, when the madness really starts to set in. Unfortunately, nothing I write here is going to do this film the justice it deserves, but just know, this movie will haunt you. And the fact that it's a family production (which I found out after) makes it just that much fucking cooler.
Written and directed by John Adams and Toby Poser - who also both star in the film alongside daughter Zelda Adams - The Deeper You Dig tells a very sad, sadistic story of a new neighbor who had too much to drink and kills his neighbor's daughter, fourteen year old Echo. After disposing of the body, her mom Ivy surveys the town and its people in hopes that her daughter would turn up; even though deep down, her motherly instinct is telling her she's already dead. Well, that and the fact that she believes Echo has reached out to her from beyond. The neighbor Kurt begins to lose his mind as Echo haunts him - taunting him and urging him to tell her mother what happened, so that she may finally have peace about her daughters death. But as time goes on and the truth gets buried deeper down, both Ivy and Kurt begin to go to dark places - and dark lengths - both in their heads and in their hearts. And all the while, all you really want, as the viewer, is justice for Echo - but what you get is a trippy, mindfuck nightmare for both Ivy and Kurt. And it's awesome, every step of the way into Hell.
The reason I said that the film has to be played in the right atmosphere is that this film will take you places. It will take you to some pretty dark places in the minds of both adults, and Echo's appearances post-death may seem silly if seen with a group, but if you see it alone, I feel like you'd take away a little more from her scenes. Her comments, her appearance, and her actions are placed perfectly throughout, but I can see how watching this with a group of friends might cause some laughter. That sense of tone could possibly be lost in a big group viewing - but in a more intimate setting, I think it will truly come across great. And that tone is necessary for the utterly fantastic story it sets up, as well as the insane visuals that adorn it. The Deeper You Dig has some truly wicked trippy scenes that will make even the audience question what's going on. I thought the story plays out at a great pace, and even with as distraught as it could get, it's just done really, really well.
Ivy (played by Toby Poser) and Kurt (played by John Adams) both do this seriously phenomenal job with facial expressions throughout the film. Once Echo disappears, Poser's whole demeanor obviously changes but her face just screams... sadness, longing for hope, longing for Echo. On the other end, Adam does an equally fantastic job with his sometimes bleak stares and frustrated faces as he tries to figure out what the actual fuck is going on; is he being haunted by Echo or is it all in his head?! Is he even in control anymore?! Kurt's descent into madness brews and brews throughout the film until it finally... well, you're gonna have to watch it, but the pay off for this long, dark road into chaos definitely pays off, I promise. You'll experience some absurdly cool visual effects and some mind-numbing scenes along the way, but as the film comes to a close, I promise you, The Deeper You Dig is worth both your time and money. If you're willing to let it, this film will consume your mind for the days that follow - and you'll be in love it with just as much as I am. Highly recommended by your friends at Soulless Cult! (For even more fun, go into this film the way I did, with no trailer - what you'll experience is greatness.)