08/08/2016 21:29

Film: Bones

Year: 2001

Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

Writer: Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe

Starring: Snoop Dogg, Pam Grier and Michael T. Weiss



This film is one that I remember seeing on the shelf at the video store. I never rented as it didn’t intrigue me and I figured that it would be cheesy. That was broken when it appears in the horror movie encyclopedia that I’m working for had it listed so I gave it a go. I’m now giving it a second viewing as part of a couple Halloween Horror Movie challenges. The synopsis is over 20 years after his death, Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg) comes back as a ghost to wreak revenge on those who killed him and to clean up his neighborhood.

We begin with a man running away from a dog. The dog has glowing red eyes and the man is Shotgun (Ron Selmour). He gets into his building and up to his apartment. He pulls out a rifle and shoots the dog. The bullet goes right through it, but it does send it back to the house he fled from.

The movie then shifts over to two white college kids roll up in a Dodge Viper. They’re named Jason (Josh Byer) and Palmer (Kirby Morrow). They meet with two drug dealers, Stank (Deezer D) and Weaze (Garikayi Mutambirwa). They do their transaction and are told to go to a building where the drugs are hidden. They remove a brick and take out what looks like crystal meth. A cop car then pulls up and they hide out in the building. It is rundown and in a horrible state. A younger cop chases them in, but he is called back out by his partner, Detective Lupovich (Michael T. Weiss). The two college kids go to leave and are spooked by a ghost. They get out of the door, but are pulled back in and killed.

It then flashes back to 1979. where we meet Jimmy Bones who back in this time was a local gangster. He ran the streets and wanted to see them prosper. We will learn later that he was seeing Pearl (Pam Grier) who lived on this block. As the credits come to an end, we see that the neighborhood fell apart.

The film then shifts back to present time where a group pulls up to the house that belonged to Bones back in the day and is where the college students were killed. We have a brothers Patrick (Khalil Kain) and Bill (Merwin Mondesir). With them is their half-sister Tia (Katharine Isabelle) and friend Maurice (Sean Amsing). They bought the house and they are going to make it into a night club so the DJs, Bill and Maurice, can perform on a regular basis. As they go through the place, Tia finds the dog that chased Shotgun. She gives it her burger and decides to keep him.

As they go to leave the house, they run into Pearl along with her daughter Cynthia (Bianca Lawson). Patrick and Bill help with the bags they’re carrying. They arrive at their place to see that Pearl is a fortune teller. She warns them to leave that house. Cynthia seems to take a liking to Patrick.

The film then introduces us to Patrick and Bill’s father, Jeremiah Peet (Clifton Powell). He is married to Nacy (Lynda Boyd) and has made a good life for him. It started in the neighborhood that his sons bought the house. Jeremiah has a past they don’t know about and it comes back when Lupovich pays him a visit. He informs him about the house being bought and to fix it. Patrick, Bill and their friends make an interesting discovery that will change everyone’s lives forever.

Now I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this film the first time that I saw it, but I didn’t outright hate it. I’ve heard some people in horror podcasts talking about liking this movie. One of the reasons I’m given this a rewatch is the different categories it fulfilled, including giving a movie a second watch.

I’ll start with some positives, I love seeing a different take on the gangster film. The throwback footage to Jimmy Bones makes me think of things like The Godfather or Carlito’s Way, especially when they don’t want drugs getting into their neighborhood. Yes, Bones is a gangster, but he does have his neighborhood’s best intentions. It is interesting, because there are racist sentiments that it is black people who get mixed up with drugs so they don’t want it in the white neighborhood. I like seeing this point of view from this neighborhood. This all stems from a deal gone bad that left Bones dead. He comes back to get revenge.

This last aspect I like, but I also think it limits the movie a bit. All of the people behind his death are still alive, so I can see Bones coming after them. There are other characters that die though making this problematic. I don’t mean the two white college kids in the beginning; they invade a haunted house so it makes sense. I’m trying to avoid spoiling this, but it is something that I needed to point out.

The last bit here is that it feels like this movie is paying homage to 1970s cinema. There is a scene with maggots falling through the ceiling like Suspiria. We get another where a dog vomits maggots onto a character that reminded me of City of the Living Dead. There is also some interesting lighting here that feels like from Italy with Dario Argento or Mario Bava. We also get a reference that feels like something from Hellrasier and it is interesting the DJ duo’s name is the Resurrection Brothers. I couldn’t finish this out without referencing blaxplotiation, which this falls into. We get references to Shaft and you have Grier, who made her start in that era as well.

That should be enough for the story so I’ll shift over to the acting. I like that Dogg plays this gangster. It is the persona he started his music career out and I’m sure he grew up on the blaxplotiation films. He fits that for sure. Grier is solid in her supporting role and looking good back in 2001. I thought that Weiss was fine as the crooked cop. Powell works in his role along with Ricky Harris as a drug dealer. Lawson, Kain, Mondesir, Amsing and the Isabelle work as the teens. I’d also say that cameos by Selmour and Deezer D were good too. The acting isn’t great, but it works.

Then the last things to go into would be the cinematography, effects and the soundtrack. I’ve already said a bit how this was shot. We get good lighting and I’d say the cinematography was solid. We get these interesting looking shoots from the ghost point of view that worked. The effects though aren’t great. The blood is a bit red, but I can forgive that. This has bad CGI though. The practical effects were fine. I’d also say the soundtrack fit the movie to build atmosphere and what was needed.

So then in conclusion here, this movie has some good things going for it, while also having some not so good things. I’d say that the concept here is good, but there are some plot holes. The back-story I’m on board for, but the mythology is lacking. I’d say that the acting is solid for the most part. The practical effects are as well, but we get some bad CGI. Aside from that, I love the homage to cinema of the past. The cinematography and soundtrack are fine as well. After this second watch, I would say this is just over average for me. It has come up quite a bit though


My Rating: 5.5 out of 10