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Non-Review Review: The Secret of Marrowbone

The Secret of Marrowbone is an interesting premise, albeit one told in the clumsiest manner possible.

The basic story is sound. The film has all the trappings of a gothic eastern seaboard horror, even borrowing several of its cues from the work of Edgar Allan Poe. There is a secretive family living in a rundown house, with a dark secret involving betrayal and violence. The central family, with the delightfully gothic name of “Marrowbone” have journeyed from England to the United States in the hope of a clean break, a fresh start. “No more memories,” the characters repeatedly assure one another. However, this is a ghost story. What are ghost stories but stories about memory?

Putting their secrets to bed.

However, the execution is severely underwhelming. The Secret of Marrowbone is a film with an incredibly tonal dissonance. Writer and director Sergio G. Sánchez veers wildly from gothic Jungian horror to exaggerated fifties melodrama and back again, the whiplash heightened by Fernando Velázquez’s heavy-handed score and Xavi Giménez’s inconsitantly saturated cinematography. The Secret of Marrowbone is half a semi-competent horror movie and half an overwrought trashy soap opera, neither element meshing cleanly with the other.

The result is dizzying and disorienting, but probably not in the way that Sánchez intended.

All Jacked up with nowhere to go.

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