ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 15, 2001
Lately, it seems as though a deluge of gory, made-in-B.C. horror flicks has been unleashed upon the moviegoing public. First to drench local screens with blood ’n’ gore was Thi13een Ghosts, the noisy and nauseating haunted-house flick that’s about as intriguing as a 90-minute Rob Zombie video.
Then came the low-budget, shot-in-Victoria slasher flick Ripper: Letter From Hell, which—although overly sadistic in its drawn-out murders—actually turned out to be better than similar Hollywood fare such as Urban Legend, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and Scream 3. (Unfortunately, Ripper lasted all of one week in local theatres.)
Now up for perusal is Bones, which stars rapper Snoop Dogg as franchise-ready character Jimmy Bones, a benevolent patron of an urban neighbourhood who is murdered in the ’70s and returns to wreak ghastly vengeance on his betrayers in the present. It was filmed in Vancouver two years ago and shelved until now, and boy, is it a mess.
For starters, Dogg can’t act. Dogg can sneer and look menacing—he’s practised that for years in his role as a gangsta rapper—but that’s about it. Not that he’s required to do much in Bones. When Dogg isn’t getting shot and stabbed repeatedly—or, once resurrected, slashing throats with great aplomb—he just strolls around in a pimp outfit like he’s God’s gift to whatever.
Ice Cube and Ice-T are rappers who can also act; not this guy.
Then again, the bogus script doesn’t leave anyone in the cast, including the usually impressive Pam Grier, much chance of a stellar performance. It tries its damnedest to parlay an air of urban hipness and street cred—know what I’m sayin’?—but ends up burdening its young leads with hokey lines like “I can’t keep this joint lit, and that’s drug abuse.”
Director Ernest Dickerson—an award-winning cinematographer for Spike Lee who did a commendable job helming horror with 1994’s Demon Knight—deals with Bones’ script-related shortcomings by turning it into a multicoloured, psychedelic wank-off reminiscent of The Cell.
The voluptuous Bianca Lawson from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is shown rolling in her underwear in a sea of blood for no apparent reason. Bright-red goo flows freely from the pipes in Jimmy Bones’s decrepit old “crib”, but the dimwitted DJs who want to turn the dump into a fashionable dance club aren’t fazed. It takes a huge shower of maggots—falling into drinks and onto pizza slices and unwittingly consumed—to clear the place out.
Discriminating moviegoers will surely feel the need to vacate the premises long before that stomach-churning scene unfolds.