Why do people not look into the creepy histories of their homes? I am pretty sure the twisted and dangerous history of a home is supposed to be disclosed beforehand. But how many films can you think of when some by a house and something crazy and scary happens there? I could honestly just type out film titles and fill this whole entire review with just that…but I promise I will not do that. Who the hell would want to read it? But most importantly we are here to discuss Digging to Death.
This small-time horror flick finds a man who moves into a new home and it is quite the fixer upper. But you can take one look at the house and realize something is up. What are horror movie characters so oblivious? When our protagonist (which I use loosely), David, is working on the septic tank (because he is too hard headed to seek help) and he happens upon a couple of million dollars…and a corpse! Queue some really terrible jump scares with obnoxious music and we have a plot. What will David do? He REALLY needs the money. But whose body is it? Should he run for the hills? Nope…he decides to dig himself in deeper. Over the course of the rest of the film, we are treated to hauntings from this reanimated corpse (which laughably shuffles along like a little old man which honestly zaps all of the tension away). David soon loses just about everything and is driven mad by this house as he finds even darker secrets. What can go wrong? The film takes the audience into a tailspin with David who quickly descents into madness. Just one problem…it never feels earned. The third act of this film feels so out of left field (from a narrative standpoint) just because that is what is expected in a film like this.
It seems like the film loses its way as it goes along from a story perspective but how does the rest of the film do? Writer-director Michael P. Blevins definitely has a tiny budget to work with and unfortunately it shows. The sound mixing seems off and can take you out of the film. The score is certainly creepy but it gets so overbearing that it gets distracting. The production design is bare bones with even the corpse looking…silly. The combination of the old man shuffle and over-the-top make-up, I laughed more than got scared. I really don’t think that was intentional. There are plenty of attempts at humor from our lead, Ford Austin, but they feel unfunny more often than they feel like campy horror. Austin goes in trying to be snarky and meta in his responses to the film but it (along with everything else going on) feels more outplace and cheap. I never really bought into Austin’s descent into madness either (which might explain why the third act didn’t really work for me). You might see a few familiar faces like the grandfather from Grounded for Life and Max from Armageddon but the cast either feels wasted as cannon fodder or just plain stiff.
I guess one could possibly argue one point…is it supposed to be silly and campy? From my experience, Digging to Death feels like a serious horror film with a snarky lead that just doesn’t deliver on the scares or quality laughs. Are there plenty of cheap ones? Definitely…but that is not the kind of film I want to sit through. But what if you don’t mind cheap thrills and chuckles? This one just might work for you then.