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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Brett A. Hart

Luke Goss
Lance Henriksen
Dee Wallace

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What's it about
After being knocked unconscious, a man wakes up finding himself in the middle of the desert, with only a walkie talkie and a compass. He soon is given a very specific instruction from a strangers voice on the two way radioÖ head north or bullet in the head. Once he starts playing the strangers game, the truth is destined to be revealed as to who the mysterious man is and what his intentions are.
Is it good movie?
If you havenít heard the name Brett A. Hart, Iím guessing you will be hearing it often in years to come. Yes, thatís a strong statement, but after witnessing his feature film debut Bone Dry, I was truly impressed. This story of vengeance feels a bit old-fashioned. It reminded me of earlier, 70ís thrillers that found themselves on lonely desert roads. Duel comes to mind, as does Race with the Devil. Both of those films are great examples of cat and mouse thrills on the open road. And Bone Dry follows along that dusty road offering up a refreshingly smart thriller, that may echo films such as Saw but is quite different in itís execution. Itís not about the twist, even though there is one (albeit a predictable one), itís about the journey getting there.

A man named Eddie (Luke Goss) is traveling alone to return to his family. Heís wearing a nice suit and doesnít seem interested in the waitress shamelessly hitting on him in a road side diner. Of note, the waitress is none other than the great Dee Wallace and she is a blast to watch here. When he takes off, he is stopped by another man played by Lance Henriksen. And when I say stopped, I mean knocked unconscious by him. When he finally wakes up, Eddie is in the middle of the desert with only a two-way Radio and a compass. The stranger, who comes to be known as Jimmy, requests that Eddie walk north, and if he travels any other way, he will be killed. Thus, this is a film that consists of basically two characters aside from a few minor roles throughout.

Being that this is simply the story of two men, whether it works or not depends heavily on the two actors. And not surprisingly, Henriksen is marvelous here. In fact, it reminded me of his work in the classic film Near Dark. He is a mean son of a bitch that plays with Eddie in some pretty cruel ways. Even though a few of the ďgamesĒ feel a bit like Saw, it isnít quite so elaborate. But once you get to the cactus scene, it gets down and dirty enough for horror audiences to squirm at. As for Luke Goss, I really found that he was able to hold his own against Lance. He earns your sympathy with his very real show. Although most audiences will realize what is going on way before the last frame, these two play this deadly game like champs.

So the actors are strong and the story is a bit predictable but one thing makes this way better than it could have been. It looks amazing. From the opening moments as reds and oranges glare at you from the vast desert, all the way to the final frame, Brett Hart has crafted a rich film that feels alive and treacherous. Even though I felt a few scenes seemed to be a bit repetitive when it came to dialogue, it was still such a beauty to behold. And when it came to those moments where Eddie is handcuffed naked to a cactus (the cactus scene) and a few other sequences that are damn freaky, I was hooked. I donít want to give too much away, but when Jimmy plays his little games with Eddie, it is more than just body parts and blood. These scenes are incredibly creative without making them gory for gore sake. In fact, Mr. Hart who also edited the film really knows how to cut together a kick ass burial. Trust me, youíll know what Iím talking about when you see it.

I did have a few minor problems with the film. One which I mentioned is the repetitive nature of the story. You know where itís going and the twist is not at all that surprising. But that didnít bother me all that much as I saw this more as a character piece wrapped in the horror/thriller genre. I also found a few minor things in the continuity. This included a scene in which, I thought someone got part of their ear shot off, yet it was fine right after. I donít know, maybe it was just me. And I also wondered what the hell happened to the snake? I donít remember it leaving the truck. There were a couple other little moments that took me out of the picture, and I really wanted Eddie to attempt to kick Jimmyís ass more often, but hey, there are a number of elements here that make for a damn fine film. So if you are looking for a smarter than average character piece with a little mayhem, Bone Dry is well worth the time.
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Iím more than a little impressed with Brett A. Hartís directorial debut. He offers a stylishly grown up thriller that isnít afraid to get wet with the red stuff. There are a couple moments that will make even a strong man cringeÖ seriously, the cactus will mess you up. And Mr. Hart has the good sense to cast a couple of strong performers to make BONE DRY a smart revenge flick. Yes itís predictable and yes, it is a bit repetitive, but damn does it look and feel great. The visual style is extraordinary and Lance Henriksen and Luke Goss make this a must see.
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