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The Bone Snatcher (November 21/03)

More than anything else, The Bone Snatcher is just dull. There's barely enough material here to fill a 15-minute short, let alone a 90-minute feature - and for a horror film, it's shockingly non-horrific.

Scott Bairstow stars as Alex, a Canadian scientist sent to the desert to investigate the disappearance of several men. Upon arriving, he's teamed up with heavily-armed locals in an effort to discern what exactly happened. They eventually find the slaughtered remains of the missing, whose bodies have been stripped of their flesh. The remainder of the film involves a lot of bickering as the team tries to decide what to do next, while the mysterious monster begins knocking them off one by one.

About the only positive aspect of The Bone Snatcher is its look, which is admittedly somewhat impressive. Shot in the middle of the desert, the movie's visuals are often more intriguing than the characters or even the monster. What it boils down to is the fact that we're never given a reason to care about any of these people, as they're one-dimensional stereotypes more than anything else. We're certainly not rooting for them to vanquish their evil foe; given that they exist only to be devoured, it finally becomes a waiting game to see who's going to die next.

Screenwriters Gordon Render and Malcolm Kohll pack the film with instances of petty squabbling among the team members, which becomes more obnoxious than anything else. They're not interested in developing these characters beyond the superficial, and the movie's lack of plot quickly becomes all too evident. But all that would've been semi-excusable had some decent gore been included, but zilch on that front. All the deaths occur in the darkness and through the perspective of the monster (which is annoyingly indecipherable). And then there's the final revelation of what exactly this creature is, which is (to put it mildly) quite lame.

That The Bone Snatcher received its American premiere on a basic cable channel makes sense, since there's not a single element in it that would've had to be cut out. The MPAA's given the film an R rating for "language" and nothing else. That should've been a sign.

out of

About the DVD: Well, if you're a fan of this movie, First Look Home Entertainment has come through with a transfer that's virtually flawless. Extras are limited to a trailer and some bonus trailers for First Look features.