Dig Two Graves begins on the darkest nights of a backwoods area of a small town, as two lawmen (Ted Levine, Danny Goldring) throw a couple of covered corpses off a cliff and into the unforgiving waters.
Moments later writer/director Hunter Adams takes us to that area, some thirty years later, as 13-year-old Jake Mather (Samantha Isler) loses her brother Sean (Ben Schneider) off that very same cliff. Understandably shaken by the tragedy, Jake takes comfort in her close knit relationship with her grandfather, Sheriff Waterhouse (Levine),
Even in present day 1977, Waterhouse is unable to move on from the sins of his past, preferring the company of a dry martini and a cigar as his source of refuge. Though he loves his granddaughter, Waterhouse is determined to keep his transgressions from Jake’s universe.
When three moonshiners offer up Jake a horrific (yet seductive) deal to bring Sean back to existence at the expense of another life, Jake finds herself at a proverbial fork in the road. Will she lead another innocent person to the Grim Reaper just to see her brother once again, or will she rise above the violence of past generations?
Shot several years ago, Dig Two Graves is blessed with excellent work from Levine and Isler, as both make Jake and Waterhouse’s inextricable bond absolutely believable. The supernatural element behind Dig Two Graves deals with the backstory of the moonshiners, but to delve into their own character arcs would be doing the film a disservice. Unlike most thrillers that are often in love with their own cinematic conventions, Adams keeps his top-notch story grounded on an extremely human level, thus infusing a surprising level of emotional gravitas to the narrative.
Waterhouse is attempting to do his best in helping raise Jake (she’s closer to her granddad than her own parents), but he ultimately realizes that offering up a few harsh truths about humanity, rather than protect her from life’s inevitable dangers, is the best way to proceed. By the time Jake makes her fateful decision, we end up caring about all of the characters who live, breathe, and ultimately die in Hunter Adams’ mesmerizing tale.
Though it’s an indie tale, Dig Two Graves makes the most of its budget, as the locations and shot compositions are visually arresting. Anyone who believes they don’t make moves like they used to may have a valid point, but they probably haven’t seen Dig Two Graves. And that, dear readers, would be a grave mistake (pun intended)!!
Dig Two Graves opens in theaters and On Demand March 24.