The Secret of Marrowbone follows the lives of a family who move to America to escape their past; to say more would be to ruin the film. Before I begin this review, I just want to say that this film has been mis-marketed in the worst way, The Secret of Marrowbone has far more in common with thrillers and dramas then it does anything in the horror genre. Though that is not to say that there aren’t horror elements in the film, there are, and they work incredibly well, just that’s not it’s defining genre. The film has an eerie atmosphere almost from the get-go, with it being strikingly clear something isn’t right. The film has a first act time jump which could have been a little contrived but, is employed cleverly to build the mystery. The script is very solid, with the characters being distinct and well used. The script does have issues though, firstly due to the heavy focus on Jack, (George MacKay), his siblings Billy, (Charlie Heaton), Jane, (Mia Goth) and Sam, (Matthew Stagg), are all quite underused. This is also true of the female lead, Allie, (Anya Taylor- Joy) however, despite this underutilisation all the cast give great performances; especially Taylor- Joy. The other issue is the end twist, which comes across as overly complicated and feels as though it has been designed to leave you somewhat scratching your head. Despite this, the film is fantastic: as it bucks genre trends constantly changing and being anything other than predictable. Where this film could have been a standard haunted house tale, it is instead so much more. The themes and ideas that this film explores are incredibly deep and harrowing, to name but a few mental illnesses, family and the idea of the evil going on unseen around us all play a part. The end reveals along with Jack’s emotional arc, end the film on a very satisfying note. To conclude, this was not the film I was expecting to see, it both shocked and thrilled me in equal measure. This is a very deep thoughtful film, and one that I think needs to be seen; despite its flaws.
Reviewed by Luke.