No Budget Zombie Horror
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Bone Sickness (2004)
17th Feb 11
Kristen is caring for her Terminally ill husband who is suffering from a degenerative bone disease. With no cure available she turns to a friend to help find an alternative form of medicine that has unimaginable side effects.
Alex McNetti is sick. Like, really, really, REALLY sick, like throwing up and shitting worms and maggots simultaneously sick. Lucky for Alex, he has a very caring, big-tittied wife with a mortician friend who has the perfect antidote–ground up bones. If that wasn’t enough to fuck up the various characters’ lives, a hotshot inspector is up and about investigating a few strange murders at the local cemetery, while a possibly related outbreak of the living dead has come out of nowhere.
Director Brian Paulin makes cheap movies, and when I say cheap, I mean CHEAP. The lighting is hardly there and sometimes feels like a shabby Argento rip-off, the the camerawork is almost nonexistent and seems to rely mainly on tripods, and the acting is pretty stiff overall. However, if there’s one thing Paulin delivers on, it’s the gore. And really, do we expect anything less? The blood and torn flesh is on full display, with some especially well-made zombie action at the end of Paulin’s biggest movie yet, Bone Sickness.
Sub-standard production values aside (as always), the concept behind the film is admirably simplistic, and the very few twists work well enough the carry its slim frame. I suppose if I were to review this film and it had more money behind it though, I would have to say that Paulin could use some work in the conveyance department. The story moves along at a slow and sometimes confusing pace, and seems to rest firmly on the knowledge that there will be gore every five minutes. This is no surprise considering the no-budget zombie flick sub-genre, but it is something that could be vastly approved on nonetheless.
The acting, as stated, is often wooden but carries through where it counts. Rich George is fine as usual, here playing the sickly Alex. His wife, played by Darya Zabinski (who actually appears to be getting better jobs than I would have guessed) is somewhat restrained when she shouldn’t be, but still offers a solid performance for a Morbid Vision Films production. Paulin himself of course pops up as the mortician, who is given extra creepy stalker tones thanks to that long-ass hair (sorry Brian, just let it go!), and does the job he gave himself well. That’s really it as far as compliments go on the acting front. Everyone else is either terribly wooden or not acting at all, though Kevin Barbare as Inspector Seacrest almost pulls through. Alas, he is pulled under.
Now, the effects work. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a movie where such a thing fluctuates quite like this. In one corner we have a girl being sawn in half and bodies exploding, and then on the other we have bare healthy skin on long-rotten zombies and what appears to be half a rack of cooked pork ribs taken out of a rather well made fake corpse. The fact that this film took two years to make simply emphasizes such bewildering errors in judgement, as it seems the one thing that Paulin would do is pay extra close attention to his gore FX. Don’t think I am bashing the film quite yet, though; it is a good film overall, it is simply distracting when certain mistakes are made. Overall, Paulin does an applaudable job and provides a few rarely seen stunts in such a no-budget film, such as the flipping of a car and the aforementioned exploding body.
Another element in the film’s favor is Paulin’s love of grossing out his audience. Rich George vomiting and shitting worms, only to attempt to devour them afterwards really hits a soft spot, and the use of other creepy crawlies throughout adds a sense of ethereal horror that really is just lovely.
Overall, Bone Sickness is a nice try that could have been better, but also could have been a lot worse. You get tits and you get gore, and watching this movie, that’s probably all you want. Also, watch out for the twist at the end explaining the zombies, as it’s so silly you won’t want to miss it.
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