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July 27, 2010

Bone Sickness

2004, Dir. by Brian Paulin.

It's been a long time (about 6 months, maybe) since my good man Zach S. from over at recommended that I check out Bone Sickness. I didn't really know Zach at the time, as I was just starting to mingle with other horror bloggers and only knew him as one of the few followers I had on this site. When I took a look at the movie's IMDB page, where I quickly found some unflattering images and a low overall rating from users...I kinda thought that he might have been doing what the British call "taking the piss".

But when Zach (who I now know is definitely legit...possibly too legit to quit) recently recommended the film to me again, I figured I'd take the plunge. This, Bone Sickness happened to me today. Am I down with it?

We'll start with the plot. Kristen is married(?) to Alex, who's very sick. Her friend Thomas (played by writer/director Paulin) works with the dead, and offers her some "herbs and stuff" that should cure Alex while his hot wife is away. we quickly learn that the items he's been giving her, which look like a McRib Sandwich when removed from a corpse, are turning him into a "necrojunkie" who needs more flesh and becomes kind of a zombie. In the meantime, actual zombies happen. Are they upset because he has been (unknowingly) eating them? I think so. Carnage follows.

Let's get straight to the point of this one. Bone Sickness, which appears to have been produced on a budget of approximately "last week's left over cans and bottles", is about as inventive with its gore as any super-low budget zombie film I've seen. This isn't one of those "just cut away because we can't afford effects" films, nor is it one of those "we'll say it's a zombie movie but not actually have zombies until the final minute" (Zombies Gone Wild, anyone?) films. There's a lot of splatter. It's not long into the 98 minute runtime that we've got Alex puking up worms (while I was eating fish sticks, too!), and later we get people ripped apart, full on eaten, and dismembered in plenty of ways. There are entire segments of the film which are just gore. We're talking minutes upon minutes of gore in a row. None of it looks too great - as I said, the budget is a constraint - but they at least offer it.

The gore doesn't hold up too well, and this definitely isn't Fulci, but it did get to my stomach based simply on the amount of gore and how it combines with fish sticks. Since we're comparing, I could say that there are shades of Romero too, with some really brief social commentary in the final scenes, though comparisons to horror maestros must end there.

Bone Sickness is as amateur as it can be in almost every category (the women do look pretty good in the pre-zombpocalypse gratuitous nudie scenes). The plot offers some new stuff with Alex's dilemma, but is paint-by-numbers in every other regard. None of the actors seem too interesting, and the film could definitely have been pared down a bit by the director and editor. None of it really seems too worthy of ridicule, either, and it didn't seem like the kind of film you could sit down and riff with friends for fun.

If you're interested in a film that's all about gore, you can do a lot worse than Bone Sickness. And it's far above a lot of zombie drivel I've seen lately. I'm not a splatterhound, so I grew tired of the film at points, but in the end found myself glad to have seen it. I'm not sure if I really recommend it based on my personal preferences, but I can see why it could gain a cult following.


Matt-suzaka said...

BONE SICKNESS!!! I have an early copy of this film from a con that I went to a while back. I took some time to chat up Brian Paulin a few times at various cons since then and he is an incredibly nice dude that loves making horror films.

It's totally low grade, but for what those film are made for, they are pretty impressive. There's a graveyard scene in the film at some point where the dead rise, and on an extra, it is shown how they built the entire set in the dudes garage!

Now you got to watch Fetus!

Anonymous said...

Well, every film maker has to do what they can with the budget they have. From what you said in your review, I'm amazed at the level of gore you say this film has as FX can be a bit pricey. I'm always on the look out for another film about my people, we of the undead realm. I like the idea that Alex slowly is fed something that turns him into a zombie instead of the traditional zombie bite.
Nice review, thanks to bringing a movie to my attention that I would have never heard of otherwise.
Gotta go, Jabber Jaw is on...
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum

The Mike said...

Thanks guys.

@Matt - I'll definitely have to check out the special features. It was clear to see the people making it were having fun.

@Pete - The effects are really out me, who's admittedly more of a classic horror/keep that gore away guy. I do know I'm not eating fish sticks during a zombie movie again. Anyway, it's definitely a success for what it is, so hope you dig it.

Zach S. said...

I'm kinda tickled you actually watched it. I really wanted to hate this flick when I watched it, but the love of the splatter genre oozes from these guys. The behind the scenes stuff hurt my neck from shaking my head so much and I had a blister on my forehead from all the facepalming.

It's refreshing to see that all the zombies received FULL face make-up, which isn't cheap. The story lacks but it's definitely meant for whiskey swilling with the homies.

I should mention most people hate my taste in movies. Thanks for the adventurous spirit and all the kind words. Kudos to you sir, and other granola based snack bars.

The Mike said...

No prob Zach! I'm always craving new recs, and am glad to have seen it!