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Bones (2001)

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Plot Summary:
"Jimmy Bones (Dogg) is a legendary protector and patron of his thriving neighborhood. Cool, handsome and respected, Bones is the benevolent caretaker of his people until he is betrayed by those closest to him. Flash forward 20 years. Crime and drugs have crumbled the neighborhood and Jimmy Bones has become a charismatic emblem of better times. But his spirit is about to make a comeback."

Reviewer: John Dedeke @horrorasylum
Review Date: 21 March 2002 My Rating: out of 5


# There was really no way for me to avoid at least a small degree of skepticism coming into BONES. How could anyone really take the project % seriously? The concept of a horror movie driven by a rapper with little acting experience outside of music videos was enough to raise questioning eyebrows, but couple that with the discouraging ad campaign issued by New Line Cinema to support their latest horror offering and it was really hard to have any faith in the idea at all.

Thankfully, first impressions donít always prove to be entirely representative, and you canít always judge a book by its cover -- or a horror movie by its rapper. As I watched BONES unfold I was repeatedly and surprisingly impressed with how well director Ernest Dickerson and all parties involved handled the film and managed to make it a really fun movie to watch -- if not an entirely original one. Dickerson (who directed the horribly underrated DEMON KNIGHT) once again crafts a movie that seems to really capture the spirit of flat-out s-styl horror without falling prey to annoyingly 'hip' reflexivity. BONES is not a movie that winks at its audience at how cleverly 'old-school' it is, but rather just opts to give you the goods. And the goods are pretty darn good. This is by no means a 'psychological thriller'; this is a horror movie, complete with plenty of surprising and fun killings and a very, very hearty helping of gore (the blood, right in tune with the overall vibe of the film, has the feel of late s splatter -- garish and pasty).

Throughout the first minutes of BONES I was amazed at how genuinely interesting the story was. Itís not wholly original, but itís compelling enough to keep you wanting to see more. There are some pretty blatant nods to A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and HELLRAISER, but Dickerson and Co. pull them off very well, and they fit perfectly into the saga of Jimmy Bones.

Which leads right into the all-important topic of Snoop Dogg The Actor vs. Snoop Dogg The Rapper. As I stated earlier, itís hard not to have doubts about a rapper turned first-time actor, but Snoop Dogg actually comes across pretty well in his debut horror feature. Part of the reason for this is that the story keeps him as a side character for much of the film, preventing him from growing stale or turning into a joke -- which, unfortunately, is what ultimately happens towards the latter half of the film. Once Snoop does show up in the film BONES begins to lose a little of its edge, but itís not really Snoopís fault. The final half-hour of the film treads on some corny ground, but manages to come out without losing TOO much credibility, and the last moments reeked of enough Fulci-ness to keep me smiling as the credits rolled and I was subjected to an obligatory rap tune by the star of BONES (thankfully Dickerson waited until the end of the film proper before throwing it in).

BONES, while by no means the most original or complete horror opus to come out of Hollywood, knows what it wants to be and pretty much hits the mark dead-center. Though it dips into mediocrity in the closing act, thereís enough great stuff in the film to keep you entertained through its lesser bits.

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