THE DEEPER YOU DIG (2019)
Directed by The Adams Family
When her 14 year old daughter Echo goes missing one evening, Ivy Allen searches far and wide across their rural upstate New York neighbourhood to find her. Using her supernatural skills as a tarot reader and medium, she tries to connect with her daughter on a spiritual level to find out the truth of her disappearance.
A tale of love, devotion, guilt and grief, THE DEEPER YOU DIG is a simple yet effective story about one woman’s quest to be reunited with her daughter, be it dead or alive.
Unlike some other movies, we find out exactly what happened to Echo before even her own mother knows she’s missing. Driving home drunk from the local bar one night, renovator Kurt Miller accidentally hits her with his truck whilst observing deer crossing the road. Throwing her in the back of his motor, he drives back to his place where he attempts to bury her but the frozen ground scuppers that plan and he’s forced to rethink his situation.
With posters being handed out all over town and with even the local sheriffs paying a visit, Kurt is wracked with guilt over the death. Whilst he could have done the honest thing and drove her to the hospital, he instead chose to protect himself from a criminal charge instead. Her death is something he comes to regret as Echo begins to haunt him and cause him to mentally break down. This is where the film begins to experiment with concepts of death and loss, bringing together both sides of the story: the mother looking for her daughter and her killer.
THE DEEPER YOU DIG is very artsy, concise and intimate in the way it’s been created, from the dialogue and stunning landscapes right down to the editing. Taking on elements of the supernatural and possession create some intriguing visuals on-screen and not everything is as it always seems. Without a doubt, Toby Poser steals the show as grieving mother Ivy who’s loss drives her to reconnect with her talent which she feels she has lost, having prioritised business decisions over being true to her calling. Her determination, amidst grief, to reconnect with Echo is a powerful watch even if a couple of the scenes involving Ivy and Kurt, played by Toby’s husband John Adams, aren’t as effective as they could be. Some of the scenes transcend into the surreal but, for the most part, the film prefers to ground itself in a reality the viewer is more accustomed to.
Sound plays an important part in this movie, not only to further the story but to add layers and depth to what we see on screen. It’s an isolated world out there, for all our main characters in the film: Echo in her ghost realm; Ivy in the search for her daughter; Kurt in dealing with the guilt of the crime he’s committed. The sounds will chill and unnerve as life seemingly goes on and time goes by however nothing of the circumstances we see on-screen could be described as normal. With Echo and Ivy far apart, both will do what it takes to be reunited.
With an eye for utilising the environments they have around them, the Adams family have managed to create something different than your traditional tale of love, family and loss. Whilst it still has embellishments of familiar tropes, it does well to set itself apart from the rest with its powerful imagery and excellent use of locations.
Arrow Video present THE DEEPER YOU DIG on limited edition Blu-Ray with the second disc in the 2 disc set featuring their previous film, The Hatred, which I plan to review soon. The first disc, which features THE DEEPER YOU DIG, has a fun interview with Zelda Adams (Echo Allen), Toby Poser and John Adams, where they answer questions posed to them, as well as a visual essay with Anton Bitel, audio commentary with the Adams, special effects breakdown and a FrightFest 2019 interview. The set also comes with a double sided poster, reversible sleeve and a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Neil Mitchell.