Four young siblings living alone in a big old house are plagued by a sinister presence which may or may not be real.
I have almost completely finished watching horror because most of it seems to be copy or variation of something else, and most of them seem to prefer cheap thrills (sudden noises, jumps etc) to the proper world and character building which is a necessary base for any kind of good story.
“Marrowbone” is derivative of other works, too, but has promise to be more than just a copycat. It concentrates on characters, environment and the atmosphere early on, slowly but steadily raising and holding the suspense, so we may have reason to care about what happens next.
In this way, it’s similar to the horror guru Stephen King’s style, although written and directed by some Sergio G. Sánchez.
it’s the Spaniard’s feature-length directorial debut but the man has written screenplays before, notably for J.A. Bayona’s “El orfanato” (“The Orphanage”, 2007) and natural catastrophe drama “Lo imposible” (“The Impossible”, 2012).
The first half of this slow-burning 111 minute joint is promising indeed. Finally, a rare horror with its own clear strong voice, I thought, already comparing it to the best I’ve seen such as M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” or Alejandro Amenábar’s “The Others”.
The dark, moody atmosphere is effective – genuinely creepy – and there are no cheap tricks to “prove” anything to shallower part of audience who would ask for fast thrills.
If I remember correctly, the first “unnatural” moment arrives late, maybe around 50 minutes in, which is also similar to King’s best horror.
Sánchez is able to use well-known cliches well, and the movie looks amazing in its old-postcard-way. I would give the result a much higher score were the story deeper.
It is understandable that the author only had two hours, which is not a lot. But the development of event does feel shallow and jumpy, and when the revelations about what’s really happening start to arrive, everything turns weak cliched fast.
Why do so many horror movies use twists and “surprises” in the end anyway? By now, it would be refreshing to just enjoy a story well told, as “Marrowbone” during the first hour.
The experience is less about actors and more about atmosphere with everything fitting neatly into the author’s vision, but the cast has done their best indeed, as stated above. It’s not to be taken granted in indie horrors, you know.
Everybody makes you feel something by the power of their performance, be it sympathy, dislike or else. In a way, it turns out to be a good ensemble movie as well.
It’s an indie effort, so there’s a slim chance you would know any of the cast by name, but they do reat job, even the small one. So here they are: George MacKay, Charlie Heaton (“Stranger Things”), Mia Goth, Matthew Stagg, Anya Taylor-Joy, Kyle Soller, Tom Fisher.
All in all, prepare for likable and mostly effective movie. It’s not gonna offer much for seasoned horror watchers but if you have not seen this kind of stuff (many times) already, this may be the first to make you interested in horror movies in general.