BONE SICKNESS (2004)
Reviewed By Zombie-A-GoGo
Brian Paulin, the director who brought us Mummy Raider
starring Misty Mundae, now brings us Bone Sickness.
It's a story about Kristen McNetti (Darya Zabinski), whose
husband, Alex, is suddenly struck one year previous with
a degenerative bone disease. Due to what I think is the
inability to pay for proper treatment, she turns to a friend,
Thomas Granger, a morgue attendant. In all his scientific
wisdom, he provides her with a combination corpse marrow
and red meat mixture to blend into her husband's food. This
is supposed to make him better. Of course, it doesn't. It
makes him horribly ill, with wormy-squirts coming from most
orifices. It's plain to see that he can't possibly improve
if he's digesting nasty corpse marrow bits, so what's the
next logical step? Of course, he needs fresher marrow bits!
But, by this time he's acquired a taste for the recently
deceased, and now the movie is a circus.
What started out with promise, ended with.a kind of disappointment.
Not the kind of disappointment one gets when they sit there
for 98 minutes and watch something start out all right and
then slowly spiral down into a sloppy, stinking mess. It's
the kind when you just know that somewhere in all the chaos,
there is a decent, cohesive film that one could enjoy. What's
particularly frustrating about Bone Sickness is that the
film that it could have been would have been leaps and bounds
better than 98% of the low-budget zombie films being churned
out at a head-spinning pace in people's backyards and garages.
The corpse-including concoction given to Alex to cure him
is reminiscent of the Voodoo zombie powder written about
in Wade Davis's The Serpent and the Rainbow. However,
the effect is not a zombie, but a "Necro-junky," as he is
referred to in the film (side-effect of this is suddenly
growing your hair long and letting it get greasy.) It's
an updated, Americanized twist on the voodoo myth which
is a much appreciated shift from the chemical/radioactive/etc.
reasons we've been given as of late for a zombie outbreak.
Unfortunately, about halfway through the film, things begin
to get convoluted, and never stop. In fact, it actually
seems to gain momentum once the ball of confusion gets rolling.
Is Alex a zombie? You don't know. Why are the zombies rising?
You don't know. Is his best friend sleeping with his wife?
You don't know. Do any of the chicks in this film keep their
clothes on? Okay, the answer is: one and a half. Why are
there scorpions? You don't know. Are those goblins?? Yes,
but we don't know where they came from, or why. Yes, I said
"goblins," and your guess is as good as mine. Most of the
movie is spent in complete and utter befuddlement, only
to have some of it explained in a spurt of dialog, too little,
too late. Suspense can be built by tossing a few perplexing
moments at the audience, but to throw them hand over fist
and offering absolutely nothing to help tie things together
until much of the action is done is useless, and a bit frustrating.
What Bone Sickness does have going for it are some
great zombies. Very serious attention was paid to the making
of, the lighting of and the overall appearance of the real
stars of the film. Here we have a gaggle of fiends recalling
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things. Instead
of the very popular fast-paced, poorly cut, quick zombie
attack, with a speed metal accompaniment, Paulin hands us
a classic rise from the grave. And judging by the behind-the-scenes
footage, it's a graveyard built in a garage. I'm always
impressed by low-budget filmmakers who actually think a
scene's important enough to build a set for. The hard work
paid off, and the result is a creepy trip back to the good
ol' days when zombies were slow, and scary.not so much because
they were going to eat you, but because they were spooky,
decaying corpses that were shuffling around after you. That's
not to say that there's no flesh eating.
.because there is. Paulin didn't skimp on the gore and blood,
though the latter is a bit watery. The story did seem to
suffer for it towards the ending, when meaningful action
that helped the audience stay abreast of the situation was
lost in a string of interesting and creative effects gags.
That's the disadvantage. The advantage is that you get to
watch a string of interesting and creative effects gags.
Bone Sickness also suffers from something I often
wonder about in these low-budget jobbies: where is the wardrobe?
How many of these do I have to sit through in which I am
asked to believe that the girl with the Betty Page haircut
and funky-punk shirt is supposed to be the nosey neighbor
in some nameless suburbia? How many times must I try to
convince myself that although the characters are peppered
with tattoos, and sometimes the odd piercing and unnaturally
colored hair, and although their homes are decorated in
the hippest punk-rocker fashion (how much animal print can
one really take?), are your garden-variety people? Yep,
just normal everyday people with normal everyday jobs, who
water their flowers and call over the fence between yards
to each other asking how-have-you-been-lately-Mrs.-so-and-so?
Is it really that hard to dress a set? Is a real wardrobe
and a wig really too much to request? Or, a properly placed,
concealing sleeve, perhaps? (sigh)
Okay, so anyway, I lied when I said the zombies were the
stars of this film, though they are a very close second.
The real star of Bone Sickness is Rich George, who
plays the sick husband, Alex. I can't really praise his
acting skills, I'm sorry to say. But what can you say about
a person who puts a good handful of live squirmy-worms in
his mouth, sets himself on fire, and a variety of other
haphazard stunts.all for a low budget zombie flick? You
say: without you, this movie wouldn't have been nearly as
entertaining. Thank you.
Altogether, Bone Sickness is both fun and difficult
to sit through: fun for the action and effects, but difficult
due to the mix-mangle story and continuity. In the end,
you're appreciative, but not necessary satisfied.
|It’s easier to pretend you’re following
the story than to actually do it.
|1. When you find out that there’s something out
there that might eat zombies, instead of zombies just
eating you, they’re a lot less threatening.
2. Goblins don't like their food stolen.
|-"Andrea, what meat did you use to make these sandwiches?"
-"In the meantime, I'm consuming human rot. I'm spewing
out worms from every hole in my body. Sh*tting maggots!"
|• Morbid Vision Films released Bone
Sickness independently, but it was then picked
up for DVD distribution by Unearthed Films for an
October 2005 release. The new release is supposed
to be even gorier than the original, with an additional
10-12 gore scenes.
|• All of 2003 was spent filming the
30 min action packed & gore filled finale to make
sure the film delivers and give buyers their monies
worth. Director Brian Paulin promised fans that, "...there
are no comic relief scenes to ruin the atmosphere.
This is serious horror!"
|• Every zombie in the movie is a full
head prosthetic special make-up appliance. There are
no pasty-faced zombies.
|• Kevin Barbare is a DJ for Boston's
WAAF radio on the Hillman morning show.
|• Production started on April 14, 2002.
Paulin Interview - Crazy Ralph Films
||Mrs. Clancey (neighbor)
Vision Films, Unearthed
|COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
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