Emile Hirsch puts himself into early Razzie’s contention as a cold-blooded killer with a laughable Southern drawl. Dig is a lean thriller about a troubled father and daughter forced on a desert excavation by a murderous couple. The premise isn’t terrible, but the film drags out a paper-thin plot like taffy. The characters behave foolishly in what should be a tense life or death scenario. The plot inexplicably meanders with no actual digging done until the second act. Dig had promise after a gripping open then devolves into brainless banter and bloody violence.
Set in an arid Las Cruces, New Mexico, Scott Brennan (Thomas Jane) storms into a local bar looking for his wayward daughter. Jane, portrayed by real-life daughter Harlow Jane, gets scooped up and tossed in the family truck. Scott’s frustrated wife begs her husband and daughter to calm down. The situation takes a tragic turn after a road rage incident spawns a deadly confrontation at a gas station.
A year later, the widowed Scott and now deaf Jane struggle as a family. Jane hasn’t spoken since losing her mother. Scott fumbles with his sign language. He hopes a fishing trip will mend their broken relationship. Those plans change when Victor (Hirsch) saunters into Scott’s machinery rental business.
Victor needs an excavation done asap at a property in the desert. He throws down wads of cash to cancel Scott’s daddy-daughter time. Scott can keep any stripped pipes or materials found in the house. His only rule is to leave the walls alone and dig under the porch. Scott takes a reluctant Jane and his assistant, Pablo (Arthur Rodriguez), to the work site. Jane does exactly what she shouldn’t. They find money hidden in the walls. Victor and his psychotic girlfriend, Lola (Liana Liberato), show up. They take everyone hostage and force them to work. Their captors have a buried secret that puts the Brennans and Pablo in mortal danger.
Believability of Dig
Anyone with a hint of common sense would find Victor’s offer troubling. The dude broadcasts bad guy vibes. What I don’t understand is Victor’s plan in the first place. He would have to kill Scott after he uncovered what the couple was hiding. That obviously puts him at risk of being caught as the person who rented the equipment. The cops wouldn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure that out.
The opening scene sets the stage for believable conflict. Jane blames Scott for her mother’s death and hearing impairment. Scott’s wracked with guilt for his rash actions and the awful aftermath. There was room to explore a significant divide. That opportunity is wasted during the hostage situation. Their reconciliation under duress isn’t realistically handled.
Emile Hirsch in Dig
Emile Hirsch is a capable actor. He’s been good in several films. Dig may be his worst performance. His accent, mannerisms, and ensemble interactions are overblown. I laughed when he shows up at the house masked. Victor literally spoke to Scott hours before and makes no effort to change his twangy voice. B-movie producer turned director K. Asher Levin wants a Natural Born Killers dynamic between Victor and Lola. It doesn’t work at all. Victor is ludicrous in every way, much like most of this film.
Dig is a production of FilmMode Entertainment, BondIt Media Capital, Buffalo 8, and Renegade Entertainment. It will have a VOD and theatrical release on September 23rd from Lionsgate and Saban Films.