ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Bones (2001)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Ernest Dickerson

Starring:
Snoop Dog/Bones
Pam Grier/Pearl
Bianca Lawson/Cinnabar
Khalil Cain/Patrick
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
When some ambitious young adults buy a desolate building smack in the middle of the ghetto in order to turn it into a club, they awaken the spirit of wrongfully murdered hustler “Jimmy Bones” and he’s freaking pissed off yo! Bones re-enters the world of the living and seeks un-apologetic vengeance upon the scum who stole his life. Unleash the dog! He hungry!
THE LOWDOWN
Dog eat dog brother; dog eat dog—Jimmy Bones

They should’ve called this puppy “Nightmare On Hood Street”. This flick is very reminiscent of the Nightmare series and the similarities between Freddy K. and Jimmy B. are too abundant for me not to mention. Both homeys have creepy rhymes about them, they can both manipulate dreams, both spit out witty one-liners (although Bones is a little more vulgar about things), both have similar resurrection sequences (Freddy did the same thang in Part 4), both seek revenge upon the people who killed them, both have daughters and they’re both bitches of New Line Cinema.

Fortunately, "Bones" does bring some extra flesh to this familiar dish. I really dug that the film addressed the decline of African American neighborhoods due to the arrival of crack in the late 70’s. It’s kool to see a horror flick carry around such a heavy theme. Also on a character level, Jimmy Bones is way more ambiguous than our pal Freddy. Yes, the dude was into illegal shit and dressed like a high paid pimp but he also genuinely cared for his neighborhood and loved his lady friend. Which brings me to the romantic angle which they slapped in the film via Pearl (Grier) and Jimmy (Dog). That pinch of softness gave the Bones character an extra layer that made him more sympathetic than the average slasher figure. I dug that aspect and in consequence, I didn’t always know where I stood with my man Bones. That made him groovier to watch.

The film is at its best during the first hour. It comfortably switches back and forth between the past and the present, weaving its tale around our brains effortlessly. The film unravels at an even pace, keeps to a dark Gothic tone, gives us some creative supernatural occurrences, has enough strong characters for me to care (but I was still rooting for da Dog), sports uneven CGI (its good most the time though), likes to wink at old horror films (will you spot the Dracula or Nosferatu references?) and delivers some pretty kool ideas/images. I really dug the dog’s purpose in the film (never seen that approach before) and the effective dream sequences (love the bloody bed bit) tripped me out. This flick is definitely dead on when it comes to the visuals and atmosphere.

Unfortunately, this canine does lose its footing during its third act by injecting moronic comic relief into the mix (yes, the talking severed head) and going way too over the top with its ideas (what’s with that city of the dead thang?). It lost its grasp on me there and kind of negates its first hour by changing the mood so drastically. How many times do we have to see a horror flick end with mass destruction, mucho effects and a light show? I’m personally fed up of that approach. They should’ve kept it simple all the way.

On a script level, the film makes the obvious “horror” slip-ups. I don’t know about you crazy bastards, but if I ever see the face of Snoop Dog appear on my ceiling telling me to leave the premises, I’M FUCKING OUT OF DODGE! And how come nobody ever picked up the dog’s red glowing eyes? Hello, anybody home? But the film’s biggest fault is, without a doubt, its predictability. There are a lot of “been there, done that" type moments throughout this flick and more surprises would have been nice. As is, there isn’t one plot point I didn’t see coming from miles away and not one “revelation” I couldn’t predict minutes before it happened. That made for a less involving viewing. I have mixed feelings about big bad Bones. [sings] Who let the dogs out? Woot, Woot, Woot, Woot, Woot!
GORE
"Bones" is not a happy camper and that’s good news for gore fans. We get some maggot rain, some nasty dog bites, slit throats, a dude being eaten by a dog, a man being stabbed by flying glass, maggot pukings, severed heads and more! On the downside, the blood looks more like bright red paint than plasma and Michael T. Weiss’ aging makeup is weak.
ACTING
I can’t really say that Snoop Dog (Bones) is a great actor but I will say that the brother’s got a strong presence and handles the part well. I dug him a lot. Pam Grier (Pearl) does fine in the flashback sequences but is stuck with some horrible “mumbo jumbo” jive in the present scenes. The bad lines made her look bad. I liked her chemistry with Snoop though. Bianca Lawson (Cinnabar) evoked one word out of me…wow. She’s gorgeous and holds her own acting-wise. Khalil Cain (Patrick) also handles his part very well, I loved his delivery. Sean Amsing (Maurice) is convincing as the weed fiend. I couldn’t help but think “Ginger Snaps” every time Katherine Isabelle (Tia) popped up, she does ok but her part ain't all that. Merwin Mondesir (Bill) also has a thin part but he does what he has to do. Clifton Powell (Jeremiah) and Ricky Harris (Eddy Mack) both bring “cred” and strong acting chops to the film. I loved them both. Michael T. Weiss (Lupovitz) just plays an a-hole, a despicable one at that.
T & A
Some dumb blonde (and I mean DUMB!) shows us her ta-tas and her g-stringed butt cheeks. Nothing for the ladies in this movie, sorry gals...Snoop keeps his pants on.
DIRECTING
Ernest Dickerson has a great eye and doesn’t hold back here. I’m talking wicked camera angles, crazy ghost POV shots, lots of flash and filters, an able smoke machine, slick green/red lighting and filters galore. He even goes Raimi on our asses on more than one occasion. Nice job, dude!
SOUNDTRACK
A too seldom used score, some RNB and some hip-hop. Yes, Snoop throws a couple of beats our way; I particularly liked the badass “Legend Of Jimmy Bones”.
DVD FEATURES
Distributor: New Line Home Entertainment Release date: February 26, 2002

IMAGE: The widescreen presentation is impeccable. No grain and sharp color tones. Bang on!

SOUND: We get a Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround, a DTS 6.1 Surround Sound and a Stereo Surround option. Any way you go get ready for an attack on your senses. The sound is clear and crisp. We also get an English subtitle option.

EXTRAS: This DVD has enough bones in its caskets to give us all a boner. Check it out!

Commentary: Ernest Dickerson, Snoop Dog and Adam Simon (screenwriter) all do this commentary at the same time so we get lots of info tossed our way and lots of conversations between them. We get to know about the original structure of Bones, what took place on set, what was on location, we get some insight into the production, the locations, on Snoop and Grier’s chemistry and much more. Snoop is the more silent one here (I suspect due to sweet chiba) and Dickerson is the more animated. Decent commentary.

Original Documentaries: Digging up Bones (23 minutes): This feature is the strongest. It has the producers talk about how they got the film off the ground. Then we move to director Dickerson telling us what his intention was in regards to the film. Snoop Dog and Pam Grier pop in to talk about their characters and their mutual respect for each other. We also get an extensive look at the how the special effects were achieved, a glimpse at some storyboards and some on-set footage. This extra is highly entertaining.

Bones and its influences (19 minutes): Dickerson talks about the film’s Gothic influences (Dracula, Frankenstein. Nosferatu), the film’s basic themes and we also get to see clips of the films that inspired the look of Bones. A film historian, a screenwriter and the production designer also come in to give their two cents. This extra is passable.

Deleted & Extended Scenes (1 to 3 minutes each): Here we get 14 deleted/extended scenes with optional “director's commentary” explaining why the scenes in question were snipped out. Man...a lot of stuff got cut! I wish the Katherine Isabelle bath sequence would have stayed in. Another groovy extra.

And last but not least, we get some Music Videos for “Dog Named Snoop” (standard and live version), the Theatrical Trailer, a Theatrical Press Kit and some DVD Rom goodies. New Line didn’t half-ass this one. It’s a solid DVD.
BOTTOM LINE
It’s obvious to me that the people behind Bones wanted to give us something special and I sometimes caught glimpses of those intentions throughout the movie. Yes, the film’s script is far from novel, yes, the film doesn’t always take the right path and yes, the ending goes too far. But the flick still gave me razor atmosphere, wet gore and a hip villain to bite into. I’m not a 100 percent positive on this rabid Doberman but if Snoop ever gets to re-visit the character of Jimmy “kool threads” Bones for a sequel…I'M THERE!
BULL'S EYE
The film was shot in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Much to my dismay, this flick wasn’t theatrically released in Montreal, Canada (the tomb where I dwell). WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?
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5:43PM on 10/30/2006
I really enjoyed this movie, despite it's predictability. It's a very rich film visually, and that's probably because of Dickerson's past as a cinematographer for directors like Spike Lee and John Sayles. It had a really cool dark gothic feel to it, and it looks great. I didn't mind the paint-like blood because it reminded me of horror movies from the seventies. However the severed heads were irritating (they needed to shut up!) although I did chuckle when those crackheads got their guts
I really enjoyed this movie, despite it's predictability. It's a very rich film visually, and that's probably because of Dickerson's past as a cinematographer for directors like Spike Lee and John Sayles. It had a really cool dark gothic feel to it, and it looks great. I didn't mind the paint-like blood because it reminded me of horror movies from the seventies. However the severed heads were irritating (they needed to shut up!) although I did chuckle when those crackheads got their guts splattered all over the wall. It's ultimately a by the book horror flick, but it's a very entertaining one.
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