Castle In The Ground Review: A Haunting and Flawed Addiction Drama

Castle in the Ground is by far the darkest movie I have seen thus far in 2020 and in a world that seems to be filled with darkness at the moment, that is saying something.
Castle in the Ground Header

Castle in the Ground is by far the darkest movie I have seen thus far in 2020 and in a world that seems to be filled with darkness at the moment, that is saying something.

The movie was written and directed by Joey Klein (The Other Half). It stars Alex Wolff (Jumanji: The Next Level) as Henry, who is tasked with caring for his dying mother. When his mother passes he takes an unfortunate turn for the worse when he starts taking his mother’s pain medication to cope with his terrible loss.

Henry eventually stumbles across Ana (Imogen Poots) who is also dealing with her own opioid addiction. Eventually, the two become friends and Henry is drug into a whole world of trouble when a bag oxycontin is stolen and the owners plan to do anything to get it back into their hands.

Castle in the Ground: Interesting Concept, Disappointing Execution

Castle in the Ground has a serious pacing problem. There are moments that seem to drag on forever, while there are other moments where the action is pretty intense. However, it was pretty hard at times following exactly what was going on in the story.

A lot of the storytelling was definitely meant to be left up to the viewer’s interpretation, however there were multiple elements that needed to be more clear for the story to be more cohesive.


The ending is going to be something that leaves viewers divided. On one hand, the conclusion is very poetic in regards to the endless cycle that is addiction, as well as the events at the beginning of the movie. On the other hand the ending left me going, “Wait..that’s it?” So many questions were left unanswered as to what actually happened in the climax of the movie.

We also didn’t get to really learn all that much about Henry’s past. Where was his family? We saw someone try to help him near the beginning of the movie which Henry refused, however, after that we saw no remnants of anyone from Henry’s past. It makes it hard to believe his immediate turn to drugs, without really knowing anything about the character or his past. The most we got was his mom, an ex-girlfriend, and some unknown friend or relative.

The mysterious nature of Ana was more fitting for her character, or Henry would have never gotten involved in the rabbit hole she lead him down. To better understand Henry’s descent into opioid addiction, It would have helped to maybe reveal that one of his family members dealt with addiction and maybe it ran in the family. For me what happened to his mother, which was a pretty decent reason, however his quick turn to taking drugs did not feel earned.

Castle In The Ground Synopsis

A grieving teen befriends his charismatic but troubled neighbor, only to become ensnared in a world of addiction and violence as the opioid epidemic takes hold of his small town.

Castle in the Ground Poster

Castle in the Ground releases digitally on May 15, 2020 with a runtime of 1hr and 45 minutes. The film is not rated.

What are your thoughts are of Castle in the Ground? Whose performances impressed you the most in the film? What were your favorite moments? Let us know your opinions about the movie in the comments below. Also please be sure to come back to The Illuminerdi for more reviews just like this in the future.



Bryce West

Bryce West

Bryce West is a writer/producer and a grad student at the University of Southern Indiana. West created his first television program at the age of 18 titled, The Film Reel. The Film Reel is a movie and TV talk show that has ran from 2019-present on News Channel 15 in Mt. Carmel, IL.