Soft for Digging (2001)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This stylized horror film, shot on 16 mm film and produced on a shoestring budget of 9,000 dollars, made its debut at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. When Virgil (Edmond Mercier) goes on a search for his lost pet cat, he becomes involved with the ghost of a murdered girl (Sarah Ingerson). Although there is little to the story, director JT Petty (who also wrote, produced, and edited the picture) makes the brave artistic decision to film the 74-minute feature with less than a minute of dialogue, and only one word spoken during the first half of the movie.
Drama , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:


Katy Petty
as Paperboy
Andrew Hewitt
as Shovelman
Wayne Knickel
as Shakespeare
Edmond Mercier
as Virgil Manoven
Mia Todd
as Orange Vested Citizen
David Huusko
as Priest
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News & Interviews for Soft for Digging

Critic Reviews for Soft for Digging

All Critics (7)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

You can still have a very effective horror film and use no dialogue, a very deliberate pace, static camera shots if you know what you're doing.

Full Review… | February 1, 2006
Dread Central

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

Intriguing for the first half hour, Digging's gimmick unfortunately gets tiresome too quickly

April 10, 2005

...leaves a gruesome aftertaste à la The Ring...[however] its strengths lie elsewhere.

June 3, 2003
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Audience Reviews for Soft for Digging

An old hermit dubbed as Virgil (Edmond Mercier) loses his cat and tries to track him down in the woods. Instead of his cat he finds a man strangling a girl until she dies. Virgil runs away and calls the police to investigate the murder. The first words uttered in this film are indeed "Murder" - and those are literally the only words that Virgil utters throughout the entire film. After the girl's body cannot be found Virgil starts having strange visions - possibly due to some form of post traumatic stress disorder or it could even be that the girl is contacting Virgil from the dead. With these visions Virgil finds himself getting closer and closer to the answer of a mystery that, even in the end, isn't entirely understandable. Hardly any dialogue is in this film so the story is told visually just about for its entirety. The films is very slowly paced, but very eerie at the same time. It borrows heavily from the visual style of Tetsuo: The Iron Man as well as other Japanese Cyberpunk movies (see Tetsuo and you'll see what I mean), but at the same time develops a sort of style of its own. I can't say much about the acting except that the actors are masters of silence and facial expressions - though when words really are spoken, they, for the most part, are similar to dialogue when spoken in Eraserhead. To hear words in this film is one of the most surreal things imaginable, and is partly why this is a horrific masterpiece. What's great is that there's also some humor too, for instance when a certain body wearing a loose jacket is being dragged - the jacket slides off, and the dragger has to pick the person up again. Also Virgil gets revenge on his runaway cat for all the trouble it caused him, which is pretty disturbing, but humorous at the same time. This film may require some good amount of attention, but those who love eerie visuals will find their interest arrested in this film's wonderfully, creepy and bizarre shots. Plus the style mixture is just great!

Trevor Cameron
Trevor Cameron

A daringly independent and stylish horror film that features no dialogue; instead, the film has a loud soundtrack of the noises that comprise everyday life. Because of that, the film reminded me a lot of Nekromantik and its sequel, although it never features that level of disgusting gore. Instead, Soft for Digging is a quiet meditation upon horror as it follows an elderly man who witness the murder of a child while looking for his lost cat. He becomes haunted by the child but can never prove that the murder occurred to the authorities. Soft for Digging aspires towards greatness but does not quit make it; however, it remains a powerfully stylish and original horror film that will delight horror films who have grown tired of the same old cliches.

Al Miller
Al Miller

This was a pleasant surprise I found on Netflix stream. A low budget disturbing psychological horror film that is unique among the Indi low budget flicks. The film deals with a old man who goes looking for his cat in the woods, only to discover a man killing a little girl. He runs in panic and calls the police, but when he takes them to the spot where the man buried the child, there is no evidence that anything happened. From there the movie deals with the old man, over the winter, having nightmares and horrible visions about the murder as he slowly try's to investigate. The atmosphere and location of the shots are priceless. The director is able to capture a visual dread and dreariness that bring that sense of uneasiness to the film, not unlike Deliverance, though story wise totally different. In addition, there is very little dialog in the movie, and I mean very little. The main character speaks one word while everyone else, except for a priest, had no lines. This is the beauty of the film though. The characters use their body language, mannerisms and emotions to convey what the need to. The old man especially does a great job in doing this. I suspect the absent of dialog reflects the solitary life the old man lives. This is not a gory movie or action packed movie. This is a movie you need time with to understand what's going on. The ending of the film leaves room for speculation on what was going on. I have my own idea that is supported by clues in the film. I think there are two possible answers to the girls murder, but you can decide. For sure this is a quietly disturbing movie that catches you off guard a bit, but in the end you will be creeped out!!

Jason Filmlover
Jason Filmlover

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