CAPSULE: Teenager Jake is wracked with guilt about her part in the accidental death of her brother Sean. She believes she would do just about anything to get him back. Then three mysterious figures appear to her with an offer to restore her brother back to being alive. But for this seemingly impossible service they want to exact a price. DIG TWO GRAVES was written and directed by Hunter Adams, based on his own story. His film is moody and affecting, but less than totally coherent, and the style of the film puts too many obstacles in the viewer's path. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
DIG TWO GRAVES is set in 1977, though it flashes back to events of 1947. Samantha Isler plays Jake, a teenager living in a rough mountain community. Jake has a heavy weight crushing her emotionally. She had wanted proof she was brave enough to jump off the side of a quarry into the water below. Her older brother had offered to dive with her. She goes with him but in the last instant lets go of his hand. She stands on the edge while her brother drops into the water never to be heard from again. Now Jake blames herself for her brother Sean's death. She knows there is nothing she can do to bring back Sean. But then she talks to three men, strange on several levels, who claim they can bring the dead boy back to life. They inform her, "He is not really dead. He is just hard to find." Jake has to decide if she can trust these men to deliver. Trying to give Jake support is her grandfather (in a strong performance by Ted Levine, who played the kidnapper/killer in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), now the local sheriff and whom the flashbacks tell us might know more than a little about the current events.
This is a film with a strong sense of setting location, though it is not clear what the location is. It takes place in hill country of someplace in the Midwest. If it helps locate the setting the film was shot in Marion, Illinois. And perhaps it borrowed some of its texture from WINTER'S BONE.
One problem for the viewer is that it is very hard to pick up on what is going on. That is partially intended from the story. But much of the dialog is spoken with a Hill Country accent that is hard to penetrate. To make matters worse, most of the film, particularly the early parts when the characters are introduced take place in the night without too much lighting. A few people discuss the situation and they look a lot alike. We seem to meet mostly men in full beards. Perhaps the best feature of the film is the moody camerawork by Eric Maddison, catching the haunting setting.
I rate DIG TWO GRAVES a +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10. DIG TWO GRAVES will get a release in theaters & on demand 3/24.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2633076/combined
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dig_two_graves_2017
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper