REVIEW: Bonejangles (2017)

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A meshing of intentional comedy and some classic horror clichés make up this latest thriller from director Brett DeJager.

A small town has been rocked by the murders committed by the unstoppable killer known as Bonejangles, who is disfigured and wears a skull mask. In a last-ditch effort to stop the killer, the miniscule police force learns of his location and in the midst lose another member of their force. However, using a specialized taser gun, the police force, made up of rookies Doug and Randy, and veteran Lisa, finally have stopped Bonejangles.

The trio of cops, along with another rookie, Larumba, are to transport Bonejangles to meet with another transport unit in the small town of Argento. Argento is Doug’s childhood home and ten years ago, he left town and is wary of returning due to his past. However, when Doug learns today is April 18, the town falls under a curse, where zombies take over the town for a night of carnage, forcing an upcoming wedding party to stay in the local recreation center. Randy finds himself kidnapped by the one responsible for the curse, Doug and Lisa get to the rec center where Doug learns the bride is his old sweetheart Sally, who is marrying the arrogant bully and supposed town hero Clint. However, trouble is brewing when Bonejangles himself is released!

Director Brett DeJager and writer Keith Melcher brings nearly everything but the kitchen sink in this intentional comedy-horror film that overdrives some of the conventions seen in horror films as well as brings some overdosing of hilarity that actually runs smoothly within its 78-minute running time.

The film combines many subplots that looks to have influences from the likes of The Purge with slashers like Friday the 13th and yet while some fans will be turned off by its intentional comedy, it’s actually quite fun because once you notice the convention, you wonder how it will be executed. In the titular role is actually writer Melcher himself, who brings a bit of Jason Voorhees and Leatherface mixed in with Mortal Kombat character Shao Kahn with his intricate look, picking off everyone in sight from unsuspecting campers (big surprise) to the zombies that plague the town. Phantasm series star Reggie Bannister comes in flashbacks as the killer’s father, who comes off a bit like Drayton Sawyer in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 when he tells his son to protect the “wee winkie”, which you can guess what that indicates.

Kelly Misek Jr.’s Doug is the typical former high school nerd who must somehow become a hero but finds himself scared yet still holds a flame for high school sweetheart Sally, played by Julia Cavanaugh. Devin Toft’s Clint has to be the most annoying stereotypical redneck this side of the woods, taking all the credit for the town’s heroics even when it was from bullying Doug as seen in a flashback. Elissa Donovan plays Rowena, the town’s succubus whose curse comes once a year, causing zombies to plague the town of Argento, which if you haven’t guessed by now, is named after famed Italian horror filmmaker Dario Argento.  Look out for a cameo from the director himself as a camping victim of our titular killer.

Bonejangles may not be everyone’s cup of team, but it’s such a fun ride that meshes typical horror conventions with intentional comedy that this is one killer I would love to see in a follow up.

WFG RATING: B

Wild Eye Releasing presents a Labyrinth Films/Mystery Library Production. Director: Brett DeJager. Producers: Zeke Hanson and Brett DeJager. Writer: Keith Melcher. Cinematography: Shaun O’Connell. Editing: Shaun O’Connell, Noelle Hanson.

Cast: Kelly Misek Jr., Julia Cavanaugh, Jamie Scott Gordon, Hannah Richter, Lawrence Wayne Curry, Devin Toft, Elissa Downing, Keith Melcher, Reggie Bannister.

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