Marrowbone or The Secret of Marrowbone is a horror-thriller film that released in 2017. It was written & directed by Sergio G. Sánchez on his directional debut. The film focuses on Jack and his three younger siblings. When their beloved mother suddenly dies, they are forced to keep the secret of her death in order to remain together. However, soon after they are plagued by a sinister presence in the sprawling manor in which they live.
Set in 1969, A British woman named Rose moves to rural America to resume residence at Marrowbone House. Upon arrival she says that from then on they would take the name of the house as their name and all memories were to be forgotten, everything was to start anew. Things start off well, and they make a new friend, Allie. Unfortunately, the long journey took a toll upon Rose’s poor health. At the end of summer, her health worsens and she dies leaving her children Jack (20), Jane (19), Billy (18) and Sam (5) alone.
In her last moments, she makes her eldest son Jack promise to keep everyone together and not tell anyone about her death until he was 21 and legally able to care for his siblings. Things appear to be going well, despite their loss. The film then jumps ahead to the next summer with the children living in a dilapidated house with all the mirrors hidden or covered to protect them from a ghost in the loft. However, there is something far more sinister and mysterious taking place within the property. All will be revealed in a dark, twist filled, heart wrenching conclusion.
Marrowbone is an extremely well-crafted horror film. It has a hell of a lot going for it but there are a couple of aspects that rise above the rest. Firstly, the performances are absolutely tremendous. Genuinely, everyone in Marrowbone is great. Considering we’re dealing with a cast in which the majority are younger actors, it’s very impressive. A special mention for George MacKay as Jack Marrowbone, this guy is going places. Then there is the fantastic Anya Taylor-Joy as Allie, she never disappoints. Everyone involved has really good chemistry, making the whole dynamic that much more believable. These are likeable characters which makes their eventual fates that much more heart-breaking.
Secondly, Marrowbone has the feel of a good old-fashioned ghost story. In a lot of ways, it’s a rarity to find these days. It doesn’t depend on overdone CGI effects or jump scares. Instead, it delivers an intriguing tale with subtle, atmospheric creepiness. Some may take this as a negative but it reminded me a lot of The Others (2001), another highly underrated horror film in my opinion.
The initial third of the film is a little slow paced, simply introducing you to the family. It’s a little muddled, with the mother dying so unexpectedly. Marrowbone holds a lot of its cards firmly to its chest, slowly giving you more details throughout. Still, it kept me hooked for the duration which is no bad thing. On the whole, for this type of film it executes everything as well as you could hope for.
As I mentioned above, there are a couple of mind-bending twists. I’ve likely seen far too many horror movies so I cannot say I didn’t see it coming. Still, this in no way lessened the impact. One twist in particular required me to suspend disbelief a little too much though.
Overall, Marrowbone isn’t unlike anything that we have already seen before. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it nails it in just about every way you’d hope for.