'Soft for Digging'
'Soft for Digging'

Soft for Digging announces the arrival of a major talent. A reclusive old man leaves his shack in a damp Maryland woods and hobbles deeper into the backcountry to see what became of his cat. The perverse creature stays always a few yards ahead of him, so that he doesn't notice right away that he's no longer alone. Over there beyond those spindly birches sits a car. A man has got out of the car, and a little girl who peers with disquieting intensity at the old duffer. Then, a few moments later (where did that damn cat go?) ... something happens. And what was already a creepily disquieting country morning turns into one of the most pervasively chilling horror movies you're ever likely to see. Practically a one-man movie crew, JT Petty has made the kind of assured film debut some of us have dreamed of in private moments, while walking in the fields, appreciating the textures of the atmospheric, everyday reality surrounding us, and wanting sometime to communicate the particular feel of that kind of day, that kind of quiet, that kind of anything-might-happen apprehensiveness. You know that he's looked at certain, seemingly inauspicious corners of his familiar landscape and thought, yeah, that's special; there's a movie scene in that. There's certainly a movie scene in one dream location, an isolated old monastery or school building or whatever-the-hell-it-is, that no production designer could ever hope to match. And you know, fully an hour of this barely-more-than-an-hour feature film goes by with only one word being pronounced. And that word is ... well, hear - and above all, see - for yourselves. -RTJ

Catalog blurb for 2002 Seattle International Film Festival