A Short Review of 'Secret of the Marrowbone' (2018, Sergio G. Sanchez)
'Secret of the Marrowbone' really fell short for me.
Secret of the Marrowbone really fell short for me. Actually no, not short, not short at all. More like fell into a massive hole that lay before me in the middle of the Grand Canyon. Yes dear readers, that much of a disappointment. The film admittedly still has some merit and is a capable psychological thriller/drama but unfortunately something did seriously just slightly spoil it for me. There are two twists. I'll try not to mention specifics in case any of you wish to see it, although why you'd wish to see it after reading this review would be slightly baffling. One of these twists, the main one that occurs at the end, was well executed and brings everything together nicely and fully complimented the plot, even though it did get slightly predictable towards the end. The other for me was too far fetched and knocked the story off balance. Completely off balance.
It also removed the supernatural element from the film, which to be frank I don't think should have been done. I feel the film would have been better the way it was going at the start. The start that I was actually enjoying, the start I was finding to be very suspenseful and genuinely tension building but instead I got a very sudden and unwanted change. The result of this inconsistent change effectively nearly ruined the film for me. So much so I would hesitate to call this a horror film, like it's very annoyingly misleading trailer suggests. Its definitely more along the lines of a psychological thriller but even then I feel the atmosphere associated with that genre has as well been ruined by this twist. In fact, I'm going to be honest, I hesitate to call it a twist. More like an annoying, pesky example of lazy writing.
Wanting to be a writer myself and sympathising with them, I don't particularly want to say that but unfortunately it is the case with this film. Whether that was the writers', the directors', or the producers' choice remains to be seen but it has really ruined the film for me and to be honest I think it pretty much ruined it for all the other audience members that I was viewing it with. The man next to me laughed when the twist was revealed. Not an "Oh my god this is so bad" laughter. More a distraught "Oh my god are you serious, you're really putting that in the film" laughter. Yes. That bad.
Me, I just subconsciously slapped my forehead in embarrassment. It did not work, not one single bit. It just made the whole thing inconsistent and annoying because I could see how this film could have worked. How it could have been a fairly decent film. Not necessarily a great film but definitely better than what I saw and paid for. There were some elements of the film that did almost save it. For example, the film exhibits a very steady pace which adds to the atmospheric tension as the plot's mystery unfolds, creating a serious feeling of dread, which immensely worked and made the film quite suspenseful, but then it becomes obsolete as soon that damn middle twist enters the scene and ruins everything.
Whether you see the film is up to you but for me it really ended up a disappointment. A really big disappointment. I could have liked it if things were different but they aren't. Therefore I do not recommend this film, which is a shame because it could have been so much better. It genuinely had promise. Unfortunately, however, because of certain significant elements, the promise was empty and irritating, making this film really not worth my time.