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Castle in the Ground is a Risky Watch

castle in the ground

Castle in the Ground is a Risky Watch

There’s a really good reason to watch the movie Castle in the Ground. It also happens to be the same reason for you not to watch it. If you are going to risk a viewing though, you best be prepared.

Grim Pickings

Rebecca (Neve Campbell) is a bed-ridden bundle of need. She also happens to be intrinsically manipulative and more than a little creepy, especially for a mom. But blood is blood. And each and every morning son Henry (Alex Wolff) brings Rebecca a tray of crushed-up painkillers and coffee as if it were the most normal thing in the world. He also doesn’t flinch when his mother calls him “my love.”

As you might suspect, mother and son plow through life with about as much energy as you’d expect from a stay-at-home addict and her apron-strung enabler. That is, they possess all the gusto of zombies awaiting a train to purgatory. As you might also suspect, their train is definitely coming. And after it flattens mommy dearest, number one son jumps on board for the ride of his life.

Make that half life. Because just as he rids himself of one addicted albatross, he picks up another. (Ana played by Imogen Poots). He also picks up a heroin habit of his own. And what was once merely a grim existence now becomes full blown bleak.

Things go either downhill or sideways from there. And then they spiral out of control. Drugs beget drugs, needs beget misdeeds, and wrongs blow up right on cue. It’s the cycle of hardcore, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners addiction, baby! And it is a riot of unmitigated ugly.

Approach Castle in the Ground with Caution

Indeed, everything about Castle in the Ground is downright ugly. The characters are ugly, the surroundings are ugly and everybody’s motives are ugly too. Thing is, it’s all done rather beautifully. There are ways to beautify even the bleakest of lives and this movie does that with considerable grace.

And that’s both its charm and its curse. Seeing all this ugliness should serve to remind the addict just how bleak things get while in active addiction. Seeing it all represented so stunningly often romanticizes the very things that are supposed to appall us. Of course no one in their right mind would be fooled into thinking these damaged lives are in any way enviable, let alone use their horrid stories as a blueprint to drink or to drug. But addicts are seldom in their right minds. Even after long periods of sobriety. And getting up close and personal with a cadre of drug-fueled crazies risks relapse. The last thing an addict needs is something that brings back the glorious low of all the high times.

So yes, it turns out that what makes Castle in the Ground worth a watch is the very same thing that makes it a risk to watch. It really all depends on your mindset. If you’re looking for a well-played ensemble piece delineating the absolute horrors of addiction, well, this flick is for you. If you fear a drug-soaked debauch is in any way a risk to your sobriety, then avoid at all costs. Yes, addiction stories need to be told. But they don’t need to endanger anyone. Consider this before tuning in.

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