Title: Dig Two Graves
Director: Hunter Adams
Starring: Samantha Isler, Ted Levine, Danny Goldring
Runtime: 85 Mins
What It Is: The story focuses on 13-year-old ‘Jake’ who loses her older brother in a mysterious drowning accident whereupon she is visited by three moonshiners who offer to bring her brother back to life but at a cost. As the history of her Grandfather, Sheriff Waterhouse is revealed the true intentions of the moonshiners comes to light. The film asks, ‘how far would you go to save someone you love?’.
What We Think: It begins with two cops (Waterhouse and his partner) disposing of two bodies into a river and then it fast forwards two decades later to where Jake’s older brother dies in an accident. Jake (Isler) is now forever changed as the scar on her forehead (she falls when running for help) seems to be there to remind us of this.
When Jake takes a wrong route home from school one day she meets three creepy brothers who look like they wandered in from the set of a zombie movie, all tattered leather, and pale makeup, they offer her a deal: a life for a life. We do find out later that they have a very good reason for wanting Jake to kill for them.
This film is a bizarre film in a lot of ways but I feel Levine is the star of the show here the way he delivers his lines is like the engine of a Nissan Datsun, completely incomprehensible and delivered through a cloud of cigar smoke. It builds up strange but muddled imagery like better films build suspense until it all collapses in on itself. We ought to be waiting with bated breath if Jake kills to selfishly bring back her brother but the film is juggling far too much of the occult to really focus on this. I feel it missed a trick here.
Even with its sexist elements and tin-eared dialogue, it has an uncanny appeal that can stay with you a while after the movie has finished – even if you’re just chuckling to yourself as you realize you came close to being taken in by its spell.
Our Grade: C+, Dig Two Graves is by no means perfect for instance the more occult heavy material just doesn’t work and a few plot points would crumble under the slightest of scrutiny. However, given the small budget of the film, this is a smart and well-made meditation on grief and revenge. The film brought to mind the 2010 film Winter’s Bone in which a young woman finds herself surrounded by the mistakes of the adults in her life.