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This underrated movie on Prime Video deserves more attention

The Marrowbone siblings, a malevolent presence in their home, and the looming threat of blackmail.

Published onMarch 11, 2024

Marrowbone is the stuff of nightmares. Ghosts in the attic? Check. Absent parents? Check. Blackmail? Check. Old, eerie family home? Check. This is the movie to watch if a solid plot and jumpscares are what you’re looking for.

I wouldn’t say Marrowbone comes in with a brand-new plot. Kids left to fend for themselves and strange noises in the attic are elements we’ve seen before in many horror movies, but this one comes with a twist that you’ll only discover in the last twenty minutes of the movie.

Let me tell you more about this underrated movie on Prime Video, so you can gauge if this is worth your time.

What makes Marrowbone special

A woman called Rose Fairbairn takes her four children and moves to a remote part of Maine. Once they get there, the rules are simple: they’re not Fairbairnes anymore, they go by Marrowbone now.

Everything goes smoothly until Rose dies. She leaves her children in the care of her oldest son — Jack. Enter the second rule: no one can know that she’s dead until he turns 21, which is old enough to become their legal guardian.

What naturally follows is these children now have to pretend their mother is alive, which involves venturing out less and burying her body in the backyard. Creepy enough, right?

Everyone in town has, at this point, labeled the strange family as, well, strange. Allie (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), had befriended them previously and only grows closer to them now. She falls in love with Jack, which is mostly positive, if only Tom Porter, the town lawyer, wasn’t secretly in love with her. Tom grows jealous and starts poking holes in the Marrowbone’s story, asking pointed questions that border on the brink of blackmail.

While the human world goes about throwing problem after problem at the Marrowbones, the spirit realm adds to the chaos too. This is the highlight of the movie, as the Marrowbone siblings struggle to deal with their very difficult situation, they encounter a very sinister presence in their house that just won’t go away. They do their best, hide the mirrors, and try and try again to ignore the obvious haunting — but the danger only escalates. Jumpscares galore.

What I like about Marrowbone is the scene of despair it manages to set for the siblings. Imagine if the children in Conjuring didn’t have parents, and if there were no Ed and Lorraine Warren to swoop in and save them. What then? A horrible situation will only spiral terribly out of control if there are only children making the decisions, and Marrowbone strictly abides by this logic.

It is because of this commitment to desolation that Marrowbone manages to build and maintain an unsettling atmosphere throughout the movie. On a slightly funnier note, it accurately describes how I, or most people I know, would handle a haunting — with panic, and then some more panic added on top. Would I strategize and call in the experts? Nope, and neither do the Marrowbones.

When it comes to the technicalities of the film, cinematographer Xavi Giménez plays around with different shots to make the eeriness of the situation pop. Wide shots are used a lot to emphasize how secluded the house really is, and this is also used when the siblings visit a secluded beach during the film. Remember how this was also used in Conjuring when they wanted us to see how big and creepy the Conjuring house was?

He also uses a fair bit of low-angle shots to introduce the siblings, and because this is not usually done, it creates a sense of foreboding about what is to come.

Another element of the film that stands out is how emotional the characters get when in the face of danger. Although plenty of horror movies exist, they also show you how scared the characters are with screams and dialogues, Marrowbone does it slightly differently. There are lots of close-ups that capture their faces and expressions, expressions that are really contorted when they are scared.

The film has a darker palette, with many shadows coming into play here. The situation is grim, and that is highlighted by the consistent appearance of the film. Handheld camera work is used to emphasize the chaos in some of the scenes.

All in all, Marrow is an underrated movie on Prime that you should stream if grungy horror with a plot that slowly unravels is what you’re after. I’d say if backstories are what you like, you’ll like this, as there are several you get to find in this movie. Just when you think you know what’s happening, you’ll find new information that takes you back to square one, and you have to relearn the plot again.

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