The Secret of Marrowbone, 7.8/10, was the first film I have been lucky enough to see as part of Odeon’s Scream Unseen. Sergio G Sánchez’s directorial debut has delivered pure horror/thriller brilliance.
Four siblings are forced to keep their dear mother’s passing a secret in order to stay together and keep a roof over their heads until the oldest Jack (played by George Mackay) comes of age. But the longer they are confined to the manor, which they love, we find out that this isn’t the only secret the siblings are keeping. Can the siblings keep their head above water or will they drown in the haunting depths of their past?
Calling this film a horror seems to do it disservice as the performance from Jack, Allie (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), Billy (played by Charlie Heaton), Jane (played by Mia Goth) and Sam (played by Mattew Stagg) is one of such beauty. The portal of a united family – at times – makes you somehow fall into forgetting the sinister ghost story looming over them.
Nonetheless, the subtle horror element continuously presents itself, creating a haunting atmosphere that lurks in the background. I use the word subtle as for first half of the film it is unclear what it is exactly that the audience are frightened of. The fear of the unknown is utterly terrifying. When the youngest of the siblings, Sam, experiences some eerie encounters, it had me hiding in my hands as if I was transformed into a similar childlike state. Sánchez hasn’t utilised the conventional elements of the horror genre but instead gingerly uses the American small town location to reflect a sense of confinement which I couldn’t help but empathise with.
Everything I believed from watching the trailer was completely incorrect, any preconceived expectations squashed and I liked that very much. Particularly in comparison to the last few horrors I have watched, there was no predictability to the film which made for a massively psychologically thrilling watch. For this reason, I am trying not to divulge too much information and keep this review spoiler free which makes it tricky to describe how brilliant this is. It is also why I struggle to understand how it has been so underrated. I think I will even see this film again upon it actual release.