Marrowbone tells the frightening story about a family who escapes their father and moves into a creepy old house and assumes their new surname Marrowbone. While living a happy life for a little while, strange, evil things start to affect this family as the kids try and figure out just who and what is living between the walls in their new home. It's an effective and intense film that will cause you to have nightmares. The 4K UHD image is a small upgrade from the Blu-ray version and the Dolby Atmos track is excellent and nuanced. There are a couple of amazing and informative bonus features as well, leaving this 4K release Highly Recommended!
There have been quite a few horror movies that involve a family moving into a haunted house with seemingly evil spirits moving through walls to terrify those who occupy these dwellings. Most of these follow the same mapped out quest where the family slowly figures out the clues to what had happened in the past and who exactly is doing the haunting in a Scooby Doo-like fashion. No stranger to this particular genre, filmmakers Sergio G. Sánchez (The Orphanage) and J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) deliver Marrowbone with elegance and a decent slow burn pace that results in a horrifying, yet satisfying climax. Sánchez allows his audience to draw its own conclusions throughout this story, revealing only a little bit of history and conflict one little crumb at a time. While some might predict some of the twists and outcomes, I imagine there will be a few curveballs you won't see coming.
Marrowbone is set in 1969, where a mother of four escapes their life from their maniacal father in order to settle for a safe and happy future. This family is known as the Fairbairns as they head to a new home where they assume the new name of Marrowbone. All seems joyous and fun as the kids; 20 year old Jack (George MacKay - Captain Fantastic), 19 year old Jane (Mia Goth - Suspiria), 18 year old Billy (Charlie Heaton - Stranger Things), and 5 year old Sam, play on the beach and meet their fellow neighbor Allie (Anya-Taylor Joy - The VVitch), whom takes a liking to Jack.
Those smiles turn upside down when their mother passes away, but convinces her eldest son to keep the outside world from knowing she is dead until he turns 21 and can legally look after the family. Things carry on blissfully for a little while, but when a bullet hits their window to reveal an ominous figure outside, things start to get a bit scary. Strange noises fill the house now, stains appear and all the mirrors are now covered up. Even the kids are now convinced that an evil ghost has set up shop in the house and is out to kill them.
This is where Sánchez relies on his audience to piece the puzzle together as we go back and forth several months here and there that reveals a tiny bit of why this house is haunted, which might be more diabolical than meets the naked eye. The tension mounts up from the first frame and with some added jump scares, this slow-moving film only amplifies the horror that surrounds this family and the house they live in. Performances are solid from everyone and the atmosphere keeps the sense of dread at an all-time high. Marrowbone isn't a fast-paced thrill ride, but rather an intense psychological horror movie that keeps its blood pumping till the very end.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Marrowbone comes with a dual-layered UHD66 Disc and a Blu-ray Disc. There is no insert for a Digital HD copy as though, which is unfortunate. The discs are housed in a hard black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
Marrowbone haunts its way to a 2160p UHD transfer with HDR color. The entire film has a muted palette when it comes to the color scheme that has a decaying pattern. There are no bright and bold colors that stick out here, but rather moldy and dirty tones of brown, blue, yellow, and wilted whites that surround this family and house. What the HDR does well here is distinguishing the natural light and darker spots of the house since a lot of natural light is used in the film, rather than studio lighting. Again, it's a low lit image, but the HDR accents detail and other muted colors better in this UHD presentation.
The attic walls, dark corners, and pale furniture in the house all look more vivid and shows a little bit more color here. In addition to this, the lighting utilizes its shadows and brightness to better showcase the real and haunted world that is alive in this home. The house is surrounded by a ton of green trees and bushes, which exhibits a ton of different shades of greens, which doesn't show up on the standard Blu-ray version. Details in the creaky old house, weathered wood, and dressers, along with some rusted brick come across very sharp in both close-ups and wide shots. Faces reveal pores, individual hairs, and makeup effects nicely, too. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are a bit pale, but it's part of the intended style of the film. Lastly, there are no major issues with banding or aliasing, leaving this video presentation with great marks.
Marrowbone comes with a great Dolby Atmos track that is all about quality and not quantity. This means there isn't a ton of big explosive sounds or gunshots flying all over the place. Instead, the film realizes on a much quieter sound to scare us. This Dolby Atmos mix ratchets up the noises on the much smaller sounds through the house, including creaks, rustles, wind blowing, debris falling, and ghastly noises that are purposefully meant to haunt you. These all seem to have been turned up to full volume with the rest of the soundscape keeping itself at a dull whisper. It's highly effective.
The sounds have great directionality and come often from the surround speakers. The height speakers sound off with loud booming effects when noises appear in the attic or ceiling of the house, which might cause you to look up at your own ceiling and wonder if there is actually someone up there. This is where the bass comes in with an impressive low end that gives the audio presentation some depth. Another excellent aspect to this Dolby Atmos track is the score by Fernando Velazquez who also scored these filmmakers' previous movies. It has a full symphony sound that will raise the hairs on your skin and gives a satanic and eerie sound throughout the whole movie. Lastly, the dialogue is clear and easy to follow along with and is free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills.
Marrowbone comes with about an hour of extra material that includes a great series of interviews with all those involved in the filmmaking process, a visual effects reel, and some excellent deleted scenes.
Marrowbone is a slow-burn, yet effective horror film that will keep you guessing until its final moments. The family and their creepy old house are enough to give you nightmares for a week. It's a solid addition to the horror realm with good performances and more than capable filmmaking. The UHD with HDR video presentation isn't a huge uptick, but it does look better here in 4K and the Dolby Atmos track sounds fantastic and memorable. The deleted scenes and interviews are worth your time, too. This horror movie deserves your attention and comes Highly Recommended!