Marrowbone (Spanish: El secreto de Marrowbone, lit. 'The Secret of Marrowbone') is a 2017 Spanish psychological horror film written and directed by Sergio G. Sánchez. It stars George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth, and Matthew Stagg. The film tells the story of the titular Marrowbone siblings (MacKay, Heaton, Goth, and Stagg) and their efforts to remain together while facing a sinister presence in their home. Marrowbone was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and released in Spain on 27 October 2017, by Universal Pictures.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Release
- 4.1 Critical reception
- 5 References
- 6 External links
In 1968, a woman named Rose, along with her four children, moves from Britain to rural America and settles in her childhood home, the Marrowbone Residence. She urges their children to leave their past behind and make new memories, assuring them they are safe in this new home. Things start off well, and they make friends with a girl named Allie. Unfortunately, Rose’s health worsens and she dies, leaving behind her children Jack (20), Jane (19), Billy (18) and Sam (5). Before dying, Rose makes her eldest son Jack promise to keep his siblings together and hide news of her death until he is 21 and legally able to care for his siblings. Six months later, the one the family was running from finds the place.
Another six months later, the Marrowbone siblings still live in the house. All the mirrors are hidden or covered to protect them from a ghost in the loft, which has apparently been gone for several months. Of all the siblings, only Jack visits the local town to take care of any necessities. Jack tries to make arrangements for the transfer of the house to Rose. He is courting Allie, while keeping his past from her. The town lawyer, Tom Porter, is in charge of the transfer. He is also interested in Allie, and is apparently aware of the siblings’ past.
Tom tells Jack he will come to the house for the $200 transfer fee and Rose’s signature. Desperate for money, Jack decides to use the “cursed” money Rose took from her husband. Billy retrieves the money box at a secluded spot on the beach. Jack gives £200 to Tom, and Jane fakes Rose’s signature on the papers, concluding the transfer. After several incidents, the siblings believe the “ghost” is back because they used the money. The next day, Billy “returns the money” by climbing on the roof and throwing the box with the rest of the money down the chimney into the attic. Sam sneaks into Rose’s old room, where all the mirrors are kept, sees the “ghost” inside a mirror, and is traumatized. At this point, it is heavily implied that the “ghost” was their abusive father, who was bricked up in the attic and starved to death. Jane suggests properly burying him, but Jack dismisses the idea.
After Allie firmly rejects Tom’s advances, he gives her a folder containing the investigation on the Marrowbone siblings. Contained within are articles revealing their father, Simon Fairbairn, was a notorious criminal. He was convicted in court, with Jack a key witness, and later broke out of jail. In the house, Jane saw a racoon being attacked and dragged into the attic and is convinced that Simon is still alive.
Tom receives a phone call that tells him his potential employer is no longer interested in an employee, but a partner. He is offered 10% of their share for $5,000, which he doesn’t have. Tom believes that the Marrowbone siblings have £10,000, which was listed as missing from Simon Fairbairn’s property, and blackmails Jack. Billy climbs down the attic with a rope to retrieve the box, but is attacked and wounded by Simon. Billy confronts Jack about Simon’s state and urges Jack to deal with him together. Their argument is interrupted when Jack faints and has a seizure. Jane decides they must tell Allie the truth.
The siblings send Allie their diary. While Allie reads through it, Tom arrives at the house. He notices the bricked up attic entrance and, convinced the money is hidden there, begins to tear down the wall.
The diary reveals that when Simon found the house six months ago, Jack locked his siblings inside the attic. He attempted to give the money box back to Simon at the secluded place on the beach. However, Simon only cared for revenge, and knocked him out. When Jack regained consciousness, he returned to the house, only to realize Simon had entered the attic through the chimney and killed his siblings. After bricking up the attic, Jack prepared to commit suicide, but hallucinated his siblings into existence. Mimicking his mother, Jack begins to “make new memories.” He hides all the mirrors to avoid reminding himself that he is alone, and avoids going into the attic for the same reason. The siblings eventually become alternate personalities within his mind.
After learning the truth, Allie goes to the Marrowbone house and finds Jack’s different personalities arguing with each other. She tries to snap him out of it, but he drives her away, unwilling to accept the deaths of his siblings. Noticing Tom’s belongings, Allie goes up the attic and finds Jane, Billy and Sam’s desiccated corpses, as well as a dying Tom. She confronts a horribly malnourished but still ferocious Simon, while calling out for Jack’s alternate personalities for help. Eventually, Billy takes over and kills Simon with his own rifle.
In the final scene, Allie lives with Jack, along with all of his personalities, in the Marrowbone house.
- George MacKay as Jack Marrowbone
- Anya Taylor-Joy as Allie
- Charlie Heaton as Billy Marrowbone
- Mia Goth as Jane Marrowbone
- Matthew Stagg as Sam Marrowbone
- Kyle Soller as Tom
- Nicola Harrison as Rose Marrowbone
- Tom Fisher as Simon Fairbairn
- Myra Kathryn Pearse as Molly
- Paul Jesson as Doctor
- Robert Nairne as the Monster
In May 2016, it was announced Sergio G. Sánchez would write and direct the film, with J. A. Bayona executive producing, alongside Belen Atienza producing. In July 2016, Anya Taylor-Joy, Mia Goth, George MacKay and Charlie Heaton joined the cast of the film.
The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 11 September 2017. It was released in Spain on 27 October 2017, by Universal Pictures. It’s now out on DVD & will be available for Digital download in November 2018.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 45% based on 58 reviews, and an average rating of 5.1/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Marrowbone’s effective setting and strong cast can’t make up for thinly conceived characters and a story short on genuine scares.” On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 5 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.
- Universal Pictures official site
- Marrowbone on IMDb
- Marrowbone at AllMovie
- Marrowbone at Box Office Mojo
- Marrowbone at Rotten Tomatoes