Entertainment » Movies

Marrowbone

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Apr 13, 2018
'Marrowbone'
'Marrowbone'  

Not so much a horror movie as a drama with spooky elements, "Marrowbone" is a well-produced, well-acted slow burn of a film that's totally entertaining on a rainy night. Just don't expect to be terrified.

Jack (George MacKay) and his three siblings Billy (Charlie Heaton), Jane (Mia Goth), and Sam (Matthew Stagg) move from England to New York with their mother, Rose (Nicola Harrison), to escape their abusive father. They set up house in an enormous, creaky, country house cutting themselves off from the world in order to avoid the wrath of a man they are sure is out for revenge. But when mom gets sick and dies before Jack turns 21, the siblings hide her death so that the house will be left to Jack and they can hide there forever.

But a local bank man named Tom (Kyle Soller) needs a signature that the deceased mother can't give, and the actions of the children make him suspicious. Meanwhile, the siblings meet a local named Allie (Anya Taylor-Joy "The Witch," "Split" in yet another horror film) who takes a liking to Jack and the family as a whole. But Tom likes Allie, and he's not too thrilled that she has a relationship with the Marrowbones.

But that's not all. Something is wrong with the Marrowbone estate. Something hiding in the walls that seems to wait for them. Perhaps it's something in the mirrors, which the family hide and cover inexplicably. Or the noises they hear coming from the attic. Whatever it is, they aren't safe inside, nor do they feel safe outside. And this pressure to protect his family starts to make Jack go a little crazy. Is it psychological? Is it something supernatural? Or is it their demons come back to haunt them? Such is the mystery of "Marrowbone."

Written and directed by Sergio G. Sanchez, who wrote "The Impossible" and the award-winning Spanish film "Palm Trees in the Snow" (which has been sitting in my Netflix queue for over a year), this delicately-paced thriller is beautiful to look at and contains terrific performances by all of the kids - especially MacKay, who carries the film. The fear and panic of the family is palpable, yet they give their characters enough of a mystery that you start to wonder exactly what is real and what isn't.

There are a few creepy sequences that work, but this isn't a jump-scare film or a horror movie that relies on constant dread. There is an unnerving quality to their way of life, but you won't be on the edge of your seat throughout. But that's okay. If you know going into this that the mystery is what will keep you engaged, then you'll find a lot to enjoy here. Some of the twists and turns end up being obvious, but all of it works, and despite a lack of big scares, there is a tension that will make your hands clench as the film winds up to its mildly surprising conclusion.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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