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John Adams, Toby Poser
John Adams, Toby Poser, Zelda Adams
Writing Credits:
John Adams, Toby Poser Synopsis:
In the aftermath of a roadside accident, the line between the living and the dead collapses for a mother, a daughter and a stranger.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English PCM Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 10/6/2020

Disc One:
• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors/Actors John Adams and Toby Poser
• “At Home With the Adams Family” Featurette
• “It’s In the Blood” Featurette
• Special Effects Breakdown
• “FrightFest TV” Interview
• Music Videos
• Trailer
• Image Gallery
Disc Two:
The Hatred Feature Film
• Music Videos


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Deeper You Dig [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 12, 2020)

Though Arrow usually sticks with older genre Blu-ray releases, the label deviates for 2019’s The Deeper You Dig. A dark horror flick, we meet Ivy (Toby Poser) and her teen daughter Echo (Zelda Adams).

Mother and daughter reside in a remote rural location, but their lives change when reclusive Kurt (John Adams) moves into a dilapidated farmhouse down the road. Related to a mishap, Kurt kills Echo.

Kurt attempts to hide the evidence of this deed, but escape from consequences proves difficult for him. Echo haunts Kurt from the beyond – and also attempts to find justice via contact with her mother.

Does it seem close-minded of me when I find myself skeptical about movies that star their writers and directors? We greet that situation here, as Adams and Poser co-directed/co-wrote Dig, and their triple-threat status makes me suspicious.

Usually filmmakers take so many roles out of ego, but I expect in this case Adams and Poser went for the three jobs out of financial necessity. Clearly Dig didn’t enjoy a large budget, so the married couple likely felt that their multiple positions greased wheels to get the movie made.

Still, I can’t help but think most movies benefit from a stronger delineation of duties. Writer/director makes sense, but when you throw actor into the mix, it becomes messier – especially when their real-life daughter Zelda makes this a total family affair.

Well, not literally, as other actors appear, and the film used additional crewmembers, of course. Still, this film comes as an “Adams family” product at its core, for better or for worse.

My previously stated qualms aside, I can’t blame any issues I encountered with Dig on its heavy Adams focus. Nothing about the film seems to suffer from potential egotism or vanity involved with the family-focused nature.

This doesn’t mean I can say I liked Dig, mainly because I didn’t. However, I simply can’t blame its issues on the fact that the Adams clan dominates its production.

Dig provides a “slow burn” sort of horror/thriller, and by that, I mean it moves at a fairly glacial pace. After Echo dies, we’re left with a lot of moping from Ivy and Kurt, as they remain literally and figuratively haunted by the girl.

The movie does attempt to leave open the question of whether Kurt and Ivy truly hear/see the deceased Echo, a factor complicated by Ivy’s gig as a psychic, one who may actually have “the gift”. Still, even with this nuance, Dig lacks much narrative or character momentum as it inexorably builds toward some form of revelation and/or confrontation.

As such, Dig plods for much of its running time, and even when it comes toward its climax, it remains sleepy. Granted, not every movie of this sort needs a big finale, but this one winds up in such a flat manner that it bears little impact.

If Dig created a sense of tension or dread, then it could still work despite its sluggish pacing. However, we never encounter any of these emotions. We don’t especially care about any of the characters or their fates, so we find ourselves stuck in a slow, unfocused journey to nowhere.

I generally applaud horror tales that avoid the usual jump scares, and I appreciate that Dig attempts something different. However, the movie never manages drama or any feelings beyond boredom and general disinterest.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C/ Bonus B+

The Deeper You Dig appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a fairly positive presentation.

Sharpness usually worked well. Softness affected some wider shots, and a few nighttime elements shot with natural light lacked great definition, but the majority of the flick brought nice clarity and accuracy.

No issues with moiré effects emerged, but some ropiness emerged via a few jaggies. Edge haloes stayed absent, and I saw no source defects.

Colors went for a chilly blue most of the time, and they looked fine within those choices. Though the hues lacked much vivacity, they achieved their goals.

Blacks were fairly deep and dense, while shadows mostly appeared smooth outside of those “found light” elements. Ultimately, the image mainly worked fine.

Dig comes with a PCM Stereo soundtrack, a fact that initially made me go “buh”? A circa 2019 movie without a multichannel mix seems quaint, to say the least, and the absence of a 5.1 track surprised me.

That said, I know Dig enjoyed a small budget, and I probably prefer that the filmmakers went “small” with the audio. Better to keep things two-channel rather than attempt a bad 5.1 mix.

All of this means one should expect a decidedly unambitious soundtrack from Dig. Indeed, even though classified as “stereo”, the mix leaned monaural much of the time.

Oh, the audio broadened moderately at times, as the sides offered thunder and general ambience when appropriate. Music also spread moderately to the left and right channels.

Still, the soundfield really did remain restrained, and the center speaker dominated. Honestly, the track may as well have been mono since the stereo image had so little to do.

At least quality seemed fine. Speech felt natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

Given that Dig brought a subdued movie, effects lacked much to do, but they felt accurately reproduced. Music also seemed acceptably full, even though the score appeared low-key as well. Ultimately, I thought this was a passable track and no more, partly because it’s so primitive compared to what we expect from movies circa 2020.

As we move to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from writers/directors/actors John Adams and Toby Poser. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, cast and performances, story and characters, and related domains.

Though inconsistent, the commentary offers enough content to make it worth a listen. We get too much dead air and some less than informative notes, but the final package works decently and merits a listen.

At Home with the Adams Family offers a 49-minute, 48-second chat with Adams, Poser and actor Zelda Adams. They discuss their prior filmmaking efforts and how they developed their own “production company” as well as what led them to horror, how their home environment impacts their choices, and a mix of other topics connected to their work.

John, Toby and Zelda answer questions from viewers, so expect a pretty wide array of domains. They prove engaging and honest, and that means we get a good collection of notes.

With It’s in the Blood, we find a “visual essay” that runs 26 minutes, 21 seconds. Critic Anton Bitel talks about themes and meaning found in the film as well as elsewhere in the horror genre and aspects of the Adams other movies. Bitel offers a mix of generally interesting thoughts, though “Blood” often feels like little more than a catalog of Adams films.

Special Effects Breakdown fills 12 minutes, 24 seconds, and includes commentary from special visual and makeup effects artist Trey Lindsay. We see some of the movie scenes that use his work and hear aspects of their creation. Lindsay gives us a decent array of remarks, though I’d prefer if we got a before/after view of the material rather than just the final shots.

From 2019, a FrightFest TV Interview goes for eight minutes, 10 seconds. It features Poser, John Adams and Zelda Adams as they chat about the movie and its creation. This becomes a fairly fluffy piece without much new content.

From a band called “Hellbender”, two music videos follow: “Black Sky” and “Falling in Love”. “Hellbender” acts as a musical venue for the Adams clan, and one assumes they shot the videos as well. Both the songs and the videos seem amateurish and pretty bad.

In addition to the film’s trailer, Disc One ends with an Image Gallery. It shows a whopping seven stills. What’s the point?

On Disc Two, the major attraction comes from The Hatred, a 2018 film that runs 59 minutes, 58 seconds. Set in Blackfoot Territory circa 1869, an orphaned girl (Zelda Adams) uses mystical measures to resurrect a dead soldier (John Law) to help her get vengeance on those who killed her family.

Law also wrote and directed Hatred, and I went into the film with the assumption Law was John Adams under a pseudonym. Given that daughter Zelda stars and her sister Lulu plays a role as well, it didn’t seem like a stretch to believe we’d get another Adams family affair.

It’s not, though one could see similarities between Hatred and Dig in terms of style and aspirations. Both lack much real plot or development, and they cling to active pretensions.

Hatred fares worse in that regard. Rather than give characters names, it bills them by attributes like “Hatred”, “Vengeance” and “Righteousness”.

If that’s not bad enough, most of the film comes told in portentous, semi-literary dialogue by Zelda Adams. This lends the movie a self-importance that it can’t balance with quality movie-making.

Given the cast of amateur actors, it seems like no surprise that the performances lack depth or polish. Granted, the thin script leaves them without much room to blossom, but still, their turns feel flat and wooden.

Hatred does look good, as it boasts impressive cinematography in the wintry, barren surroundings. Also, at less than an hour, it doesn’t totally wear out its welcome.

But it comes close, and we wind up with a sluggish 59:58 of film here. The movie and its creators simply take themselves way too seriously for this to become anything other than a pretentious mess.

Disc Two also includes three music videos from “Kid Kalifornia”. These include “Psycho Static Lover”, “Fix” and “The One”.

As with “Hellbender”, this “band” seems to consist of various Adams family members. The heavily 90s-influenced songs and the videos are cheesy and embarrassing – and I love the 90s!

As an entry in the “psychological horror” genre, The Deeper You Dig presents a potentially intriguing story. Unfortunately, it comes with so little development or drama that it makes no dent on the viewer. The Blu-ray brings fairly good picture along with mediocre audio and a fairly broad roster of bonus materials. Dig shows promise that it doesn’t fulfill.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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