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Old 09-20-18, 09:45 PM   #1
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"Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge





Marrowbone (2018)



Selected by jholmes



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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



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Last edited by Chad; 10-15-18 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 10-28-18, 02:11 AM   #2
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

The Orphanage is one of my favorite horror movies, and I was excited to see this was written (and also directed) by the same writer. The Orphanage gives us more to wet out appetite earlier on than Marrowbone, which I thought was slow going. The scenic moodiness of it is good (like how a nearby beach seems to exist just to be a pastoral space for a fight) and, like Orphanage, it's a slowburn with emotional gutpunch. I don't know that I had the patience for Marrowbone this time around, and it seems like a movie I might have enjoyed more at a different time with a different state of mind. Some of the character's motives see so far out - like the father being so revenge minded and bloody against his own children or Tom being so set on blackmail he strolls into someone else's house and sledges the attic wall. It's very sad but not as elegantly strung together. I love that we never really know who killed Tom - Simon or Jack. Instead of taking Marrowbone at face value I chose to believe that Simon, and even Allie, are other personalities of Jack and that the true backstory is something more mundane or psychological (like Jack just killed his dad and invented him as a villain). As much as I hate multiple personalities as a plot device that makes more sense than a villainous now feral attic dad or a girl next door just falling for the 'loon'. Meh...

In fact the film makes some very odd decisions - the murderous adversary does not have to be their father (there's not clear thematic reason here) rather than some more credible other goon. The characters do not have to be multiple personalities rather than ghosts, it would seem to work just as well if everyone was a ghost and Jack still alive experiencing them as unsure if alive or dead. Some of the things that just don't gel here seem disposable like under the surface is a much better movie that got tinkered with too much and overcooked.
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Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-28-18 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 10-28-18, 09:48 AM   #3
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Not being an appreciator of torture-porn, I'm perhaps more grateful than most for other types of horror. My favorite is metaphysical/supernatural movies that question what is real, who's alive and who's dead, and leave us questioning that boundary. When I saw this movie this past summer, I loved it for that reason. It reminds me of The Others. It's also a strong ghost story, I think, which is not as easy as one might hope to find in the horror canon.

It's probably a bit long for this point in the challenge since it's not the sort thing you can breeze through quickly. But I hope some of those who haven't seen it before enjoy it.

I'll watch it again this afternoon and see if I pick up anything new.

ETA: It was critical that it was the father. First, they have to feel England for this isolated location because it was their father and thus their family reputation that was ruined. It also leaves them vulnerable because they have no friends to call upon for support and they have to avoid authorities. Also, the father comes after them because of the money--hard to see how they would have gotten some stranger's money. And finally, the mother and children bond together so tightly over the abusiveness of the father. It would be much less personal and devastating if it had been some random guy. The abusive father theme is part of the psychology of the kids and what's going on and why it's so especially horrific.

Last edited by jholmes; 10-28-18 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 10-28-18, 10:55 AM   #4
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by jholmes View Post
It's also a strong ghost story, I think, which is not as easy as one might hope to find in the horror canon.
Maybe to make your point that ghist stories are surprisingly rare it's unclear if Marrowbone is even a ghost story.. The siblings are mental illness, the dad is said oi be alive - either could be a ghost but that would require disputing the movie's explaination. I think one thing Marrowbone does well is present a parade of spectacular stuff and offer an explaination that leaves a sense if fantastic mystery. It's the sort of film that I ciukd watch again and maybe find different subtle plot threads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jholmes View Post
ETA: It was critical that it was the father. First, they have to feel England for this isolated location because it was their father and thus their family reputation that was ruined. It also leaves them vulnerable because they have no friends to call upon for support and they have to avoid authorities. Also, the father comes after them because of the money--hard to see how they would have gotten some stranger's money... ...The abusive father theme is part of the psychology of the kids and what's going on and why it's so especially horrific.
Excellent points, it's instrumental their father be a louse for the tone of the movie and the psychology of the children to work. It makes sense of how fragmented and ill Jack is because he was so intensely abused - I agree with your points.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jholmes View Post
And finally, the mother and children bond together so tightly over the abusiveness of the father. It would be much less personal and devastating if it had been some random guy
I do wonder if there was ever a mother -- the scene where Jack recreates the intro scene from the mother 'cross this line for your new life,' I couldnt tell if that was a recreation or to reveal that Jack had made up the mother and actually said those lines from the go; maybe a ripe slice of ambiguity from the film makers.
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Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-28-18 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 10-28-18, 11:17 AM   #5
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

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Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
Maybe to make your point that ghist stories are surprisingly rare it's unclear if Marrowbone is even a ghost story.. The siblings are mental illness, the dad is said oi be alive - either could be a ghost but that would require disputing the movie's explaination. I think one thing Marrowbone does well is present a parade of spectacular stuff and offer an explaination that leaves a sense if fantastic mystery. It's the sort of film that I ciukd watch again and maybe find different subtle plot threads.
Excellent points, it's instrumental their father be a louse for the tone of the movie and the psychology of the children to work. It makes sense of how fragmented and ill Jack is because he was so intensely abused.

I do wonder if there was ever a mother -- the scene where Jack recreates the intro scene from the mother 'cross this line for your new life,' I couldnt tell if that was a recreation or to reveal that Jack had made up the mother and actually said those lines from the go; maybe a ripe slice of ambiguity from the film makers.
I consider it a ghost story. There are ghostly presences throughout the film, but who they are flips (like The Others I guess). Although clearly there is also a split-personality thing going on with Jack at the end, there's a crack left open to think the actual ghosts of his siblings are influencing/haunting him and causing that split or perhaps, at the least, trying to help him in the end. I like the idea that perhaps that's what ghosts are--our projections of our deceased loved ones. Or are they...? The mother possibly not being real is an interesting thought. I'll look for that on rewatch.

It also occurs to me that the reason they can't and don't kill the father and leave him in that odd state is because he is their father and they (Jack) can't bring himself to do commit Patricide.

We're enjoying such a wealth of great new horror movies right now. I'm loving it.
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Old 10-28-18, 06:37 PM   #6
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Raise your hand if you're tired of the now-cliche "They're all dead! It was all in his mind!" twist ending. It was a novel gotcha moment at one time, but it has really gotten tired and stale. The mere fact that we are able to compare the feel and ending of this movie to so many others is testament to that. Come up with something new. It feels like lazy storytelling. Something doesn't make sense to you? Unreliable narrator! It's sort of like that Simpsons episode when Lucy Lawless says any errors you see in Xena are the results of wizards. A wizard did it!

I watched this last night with a couple of friends but fell asleep through a middle chunk. I thought I missed something when I woke up and the end act began. I rewatched it this morning. Nope, didn't really miss much. When the movie finished with my friends, they both said that the movie was all right but they didn't consider it much of a horror movie. I tended to agree, and I would also say that it's not a ghost or supernatural movie at all.

There were many things that didn't really feel right to me. The dad coming back and running in to kill all his other children was one. If it was about the money, why kill the people who might know where it is? He obviously was able to easily overpower them. Why not knock them out and restrain them to use as leverage? Hell, why didn't the older brother finish his dad off? Oh, right, because he just couldn't bring himself to kill his own dad even though he had already condemned his dad by testifying against him and his dad was going to kill him and he knew his dad would kill the others ... I don't buy it. Why the hell didn't Allie know more about what was going on? I don't know why, but I had the feeling she knew that the mom was dead. Even if she didn't, why wasn't she around? Why didn't she ever wonder where the other siblings were? Why didn't she go visit in all the time it took for those bodies to mummify? And why did the banker guy immediately go tear down that wall? I get that he knew the brother was hiding something, but that just seemed like plot contrivance. They are hiding $10,000, so surely they had to wall off a whole area of the house to do so!

And that ending ... Ugh. Only in movies could allowing a character to descend further into madness be considered a happy ending. All of a sudden now his daddy issues are settled and no imaginary dad? Or are you really asking us to believe that the dad was able to survive for that long in a walled off room? Either way, that doesn't seem like the most responsible decision. I'm sure with treatment that his symptoms will stay stable and no other issues will come up as a result. A wizard will make it so.

Despite all this, I didn't think it was necessarily a terrible movie. It was more just meh. Mediocre but worse the more I think about it.
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Old 10-28-18, 07:41 PM   #7
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

^ Nice discussion guys. Feel like this is one of those films that I could really like or hate depending on my mood at first watch. Today, it pretty much worked for me, but I agree with most of the shortcomings discussed above and might hate it when I forget all about it and watch it again in 3 years.

It’s on Hulu by the way.

And I don’t think it qualifies for today’s theme, all psychological imo. But actually, it looks like the theme today isn’t just ghost stuff, but has “soft horror” as one of the sub-themes.
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Old 10-29-18, 10:03 AM   #8
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

I think I was in the right frame as well, and I ended up really liking this one. First time view, and I will revisit this one when I'm not so pressed for time. This one seemed straight forward, but I really do question the existence of mom.
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Old 10-29-18, 03:31 PM   #9
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

I liked this one. I thought i was a well told psychological thriller story and well acted.
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Old 10-30-18, 12:34 AM   #10
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

I can't stand seeing Anna Taylor-Joy cry or in danger. She has such soulful eyes. Just want to protect her.
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Old 11-03-18, 02:51 PM   #11
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Re: "Marrowbone" Reviews/Discussion - 2018 Horror Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by clckworang View Post
Raise your hand if you're tired of the now-cliche "They're all dead! It was all in his mind!" twist ending. It was a novel gotcha moment at one time, but it has really gotten tired and stale.

Despite all this, I didn't think it was necessarily a terrible movie. It was more just meh. Mediocre but worse the more I think about it.
I agree 100% with both of the above statements. Like Undeadcow, The Orphanage is one of my favorite horror movies, so I was pretty excited to see this...but it just didn't do anything for me. The cinematography was nice, though.
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