Ahhhh…the mock documentary. A branch of the horror found footage genre that seems to have an endless supply. On rare occasion, more familiar names from the industry get the itch to make them.
The film follows Green as he and his cameraman Will Barratt prepare to make a documentary on real monsters hiding in our world. They are inspired on the journey by a letter from a fan named William Dekker (Ray Wise) who claims to know that monsters are real and how to see them.
The film opens with a montage of convention footage and people Tony Todd, Mick Garris, Don Coscarelli and a whose who of horror talking about monsters. Adam’s wife Rileah (playing herself, as everyone except Ray Wise is doing in the film) is concerned that Dekker is a crazed fan.
Upon finally sitting down for an interview, Green wonders if he is not dealing with a guy who has lost touch with reality. And their early forays of sitting out overnight results in rather bland footage, in spite of Dekker claiming to see things.
Then one night, as they are watching claims the monster is directly in front of their hiding spot, when Will turns on his camera light, they are startles (and startle) a creature. Dekker is upset about turning on the light, worried that the creatures will seal up and leave the area.
The deeper they go into exploring the Marrow (this is what Dekker calls the home of the monsters) the more confused Adam and Will become about what they have seen. Adams other endeavors (such as his show Holliston) start to suffer as he becomes more obsessed with the stories of Dekker (and who Dekker really is).
Adam becomes disillusioned a bit when Mick Garris and Tom Holland inform him that he is not the only horror director Dekker approached. He was under the impression he was unique, only to discover he was one of the last, and the first to bite.
When they dig deeper into who Dekker is, it becomes truly dangerous. There is something creepy about him, and Adam and Will decide to check out the Marrow without Dekker.
Ray Wise is very good in the film, and Adam Green plays Adam Green convincingly. The film is pretty effective and uses the fake documentary to entertaining effect. When it comes down to it, I really did enjoy this one. Green walks the fine line of showing just enough, but effectively using darkness obscure what we are seeing. The mystery of Dekker is intriguing.
The only real criticism I have is that the very end sequence does not make a whole lot of sense. Major spoilers are about to happen…
After getting attacked, Adam and Dekker have a major argument, Adam and Will leave, agreeing to meet with Dekker at Sunrise. When they return, they find the house empty (and a neighbor claiming the house has been empty for at least a year). All the drawings and maps of creatures from the Marrow are gone, all his clothes are gone…they discover a room with chains on the walls, spoon on the floor and feces. They get to the entrance and find it is filled completely in.
The film picks up a month later, they have been unable to reach Dekker…but they got a “delivery” of a camera of theirs that had gone missing. They play the footage and you hear heavy breathing as the camera goes down the entrance. It reveals Ray Wise, naked and in a cage…he declares monsters are not real and the Marrow does not exist…then the picture changes to Adam’s front door. A growling type of breathing can be heard as the holder of the camera walks through the house reaching the bedroom. Entering the room, the holder eventually sets the camera next to a sleeping Adam…a clawed hand reaches out, carefully touching Adam’s face…then it pulls back and lets out a guttural scream waking Adam up and the screen going black. I am not sure how to read this ending. Did the creature freak out Adam and leave the tape? Are we supposed to presume he met a terrible fate? If so, how does he intro the video?