THE DEEPER YOU DIG
Written by Toby Poser & John Adams
Directed by Toby Poser, John Adams & Zelda Adams
Kurt has had a few too many drinks with dinner and he’s driving home as the snow falls. Echo is a teenage girl who disobeys her mother to go sledging after dark. She skids out onto the road into the path of Kurt’s truck. What he does next is unforgivable. Ivy, the mother, lost her gift of second sight years ago, but is naturally grief stricken, like the customers she cons with fake tarot readings and séances. There’s no body. Kurt sees to that in his post-accident panic. Spurred on by the strong need for closure Ivy goes on a mission for answers and finds much more.
The shell of a partially remodelled house, waiting to be flipped becomes a prism (or is it a metaphorical prison?) with which to view Kurt’s diminishing sanity. The unwelcome ghost of Echo, the embodiment of his pain, promises to get in his head. He fights her, but it’s a mental, and physical battle he can’t win. He’s not a bad man. He just did a very bad thing and then when there was a way out, he makes the decision of a bad man - he’ll never recover. Whereas Echo’s missing body forces Ivy to go on an uncomfortable, transformative journey of re-discovery of her lost gifts.
There’s a waking dreamlike quality to THE DEEPER YOU DIG that straddles the opposing agendas of Kurt and Ivy. He turns in on himself, like Tim Robbins in JACOB’S LADDER, as he loses control of how he gets to think and experience the world. Whereas Ivy’s fractured reality takes you to the dark corners of her mind. For example, she literally exposes and mocks her own ugly con-woman facade, or where she inexplicably comes too, gasping for air, in a river with no comprehension of how she got to be there.
The snow covered Catskills provide a stark, monochrome backdrop and remind you of nature’s dominion over us. In a perverse irony, demonstrated perfectly by Kurt’s hapless attempts to make a grave in the frozen earth, humans really are the freaks of nature and sit outside the natural order of the wild.
It’s a fascinating and confident take on the morality tale...
It’s a fascinating and confident take on the morality tale that arrives at the most absurd, but still meaningful fix for the broken, parent’s heart. THE DEEPER YOU DIG is a brilliant, cinematic unravelling of a drunk driver’s guilty conscience versus the grieving mother and the restless spirit of his victim/her daughter that unites them both in misery.
It is the fifth feature film by husband and wife team Toby Poser and John McAdams. They co-wrote it. They co-directed it with their fifteen year-old, Zelda Adams. They co-starred in it with Zelda too. They also shot the majority of it within five miles of their home. It a family affair and the true spirit of independent filmmaking all rolled into one.
The lucky ones that went for this Discovery Screen gamble will know they’ve probably peaked on Day 2 and seen their best film of Frightfest 2019 already. Tell your friends. Spread the news. Get it shown again before the weekend is out.