Gypsies, snakes, blood bath rituals, murder, mayhem...there aren't many films smart enough to incorporate those five elements, but the few that made it to final production take you on an amusing trip to strange city.


Wisconsin director Hunter Adams seems to have an affinity for snakes and has included them in his latest feature film "Dig Two Graves". Filmed in downstate Illinois (I'm not sure if there is a hidden editorial comment attached to snakes and Illinois!) the story revolves around an incident involving a local sheriff and his deputy after they have killed a couple of gypsies. Throughout the film, Hunter referneces his fondness for snakes by tossing a few in to add to the tension.


The film revolves around a teenage girl named Jake (Samantha Isler) whose brother is killed, on a dare with her, at the same location where the gypsy bodies were disposed. In an effort to bring her brother back to life, she becomes involved with some other gypsies living in the backwoods.

Enter more snakes, snake symbols, snake blood rituals, and blood oaths between she and the lead gypsy. But the real story revolves around the gypsy killings year before because her grandpa is the town sheriff (Ted Levine).


The story is a simple matter of revenge; no surprise there, but we are left in the dark as to what exactly happened during the murders - what led up to them. That is where Adams slowly unravels the past events to the current events. Voodoo, witchcraft, black magic, bullshit...hatred.


Adams keeps the throttle open simply by staging most of the film in the dark, dark backwoods with creepy guys with long beards that appear and disappear in a moments notice. You will recognize elements of "Winter's Bone", "The Deliverance", and "Southern Comfort" as the story unwinds.


Ted Levine ("Silence of the Lambs") works well as the equally creepy sheriff and Isler does an adequate job as the confused girl. The rest of the cast offer little to hang you hat on, but the costuming and make-up more than covers that shortcoming.


There are a couple of huge holes in the story which detract from the overall satisfaction; continuity as always with a low budget film is an issue.


"Dig Two Graves" is a serviceable backwoods thriller that deftly uses things that creep most people out to bolster a somewhat mediocre story. It maintains the mystery of gypsies and snakes!   -- GEOFF BURTON