23rd Jun2021

‘Digging to Death’ Review

by Chris Thomas

Stars: Ford Austin, Tom Fitzpatrick, Rachel Alig, Ken Hudson Campbell, Richard Riehle, Clint Jung, Sumeet Dang, Bryan Dodds, Debbie DeLisi, Stephan Singh | Written and Directed by Michael P.Blevins

Back in the 1990s, when loading up a game, I used to get a little flutter when I saw the Konami logo and heard the little jingle that went with it. I used to assume “I am in for a good time”. The opposite happens now, as I am pushing 40, seeing the Uncork’d Entertainment logo and hear the little clink of glasses. I think. Uh oh… Especially when the title is Digging to Death. It is not even a pun, and it does not make sense.

Digging to Death kicks off with our protagonist, David, and his grown-up daughter Jessica, having purchased a new house. Daddy and daughter are very likeable. They are worried about money, but they manage to bring it up in quite a natural way. David is going through a divorce. He is soon visited by the same actor who played Deuce Bigalow’s toilet attendant, father in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (I am as shocked as you are that I could place him). David has met three people thus far, and he has told every one of them that he’s putting the new septic tank himself. After a few beers, he starts digging. After literally 4 shovels on the surface he casually finds a coffin.

The music is classic horror music, strings, which is extremely dramatic (quite possibly more dramatic than the action on screen). Inside the coffin he finds an awful lot of money and a dead man… He, initially, only takes a small portion of the money and reburies it. At this point the big promotion at work looks in the bag, if only he makes next weeks deadline. He also inquires with his bank what happens when he tries to deposit 2 million dollars in cash from his soon to be deceased, and fictional uncle.

Ford Austin plays David as an extremely nice man, who is weighed down by a huge amount of stress: work, money and emotional. He seems a little bit too positive, something his daughter picks up on. He seems like the friendly guy that one day snaps. I like David, I just don’t know how much of David’s weirdness is intentional, I can’t work out whether it is good or bad acting. Whatever it is, I do enjoy it.

One of the conventions of the film, that does NOT work, is David has taken to talking to himself in the bathroom mirror. This is an extremely convenient way for the film maker to explain what David is thinking, without really having to think of inventive ways to show this non-verbally. He cannot share this information with other characters, thus he has got to talk to himself. Leaning into the “too nice, something sinister” angle, it seems his mirror image is the Gollum to David’s Smeagle.

There is an awful lot of hearing weird noises and running around with a torch, freaking out at the sound of cats. We then get some Fight Club style time skipping. David is suddenly losing chunks of his memory, one minute he is making an egg for breakfast. He is in his car. He is sitting, haggard at his desk. His boss also goes from being understanding about David’s divorce to moving up his deadline and telling him to “step up to the plate or walk away”.

The jump scares, and David’s odd behaviour start to get dull quickly and the 1 hour 30 run time could have been cut to an hour and ten minutes. The film would have seemed less thin. Digging to Death is by no means an awful film, but the plot is predictable, and honestly there is not enough here for me to recommend the film overall.

Digging to Death is out now on DVD and Digital from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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