EIFF: The Secret of Marrowbone review - a slow-burning, atmospheric, beautiful Gothic film
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Verdict: A true homage to the Gothic genre, and a return to thrilleresque and suspenseful horror. This is a beautifully made directorial debut from Sergio G Sanchez, the screenwriter being The Orphanage and The Impossible. What makes The Secret of Marrowbone, as titled for its release in the UK, so interesting within the gothic genre is how much of the story is told in broad daylight. It is testament to the skill of Sanchez’s direction that danger and darkness are still felt, even set on the sunniest days and in the airiest of rooms. George MacKay stars as Jack, the eldest of four children who have escaped from Britain and their father to seek refuge in their dying mother’s childhood home, near a small and unidentified town in the United States. The house itself provides a fresher take on the haunted house and the perfect location for Marrowbone, with its big windows and whimsical gardens, shattered mirrors and creaking floorboards. The look of the film is its highlight, beautiful and luminous, with natural lighting and muted colours that draws similarities between every frame and Vermeer paintings. When their mother dies, wearied from their travels, she orders Jack to bury her and keep her death a secret until he turns 21, so that he may claim the house and legally become his siblings’ guardian. So begins an elaborate pretence with the locals, as the children pretend their mother is convalescing.
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