Bone Sickness (2004)
By: Devon B. on March 23, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Unearthed Films (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 102 minutes
The Movie
Director: Brian Paulin
Starring: Darya Zabinski, Rich George, Brian Paulin, Ruby Larocca
Screenplay: Brian Paulin
Music: Brian Paulin
Country: USA
Bone Sickness may be a new splatter flick out on Unearthed Films, the label responsible for finally bringing the infamous Guinea Pig series to America, but I actually wanted to see it because of one of its zombie stars. Bone Sickness features Griff, the man who is, according to IMDB, the creator of the Wonder Bong and the Disposable Hip Flask, and, perhaps even more prestigious, he's a (infrequent) Digital Retribution contributor. Unfortunately, I mentioned Griff's involvement to my partner, who would walk into the room every five minutes or so while I was watching the film and say, "Is that Griff?" no matter who or what was on screen. I still don't know which zombie he was, but hopefully he wasn't one of the undead that had a go at Ruby Larocca, or else he may have…yuck…touched her.

In Bone Sickness, a man has this disease, something to do with his bones, I think. Anyway, his voluptuous wife wants to cure him, so she seeks the aid of one of their friends. I would've thought nudity would've been the sure fire cure, but whatever. Anyway, the friend works in a morgue, and since he's trying to cure this, uhm, bone sickness, the guy decides to use the bones of the dead as a remedy. That's a bad idea, as it unleashes zombies, mad about the misuse of the dead's body parts. There are also these mysterious things that occasionally kill people, and some supernatural fluff.

The film plods along for over 20 minutes, me anxiously waiting to see if the wife gets naked, and what happens? The husband takes a bath! Talk about being cruel to your viewer! At 27 minutes, however, it's HOORAY FOR BOOBIES! The wife just can't take the dire situation anymore, so roles around topless on a bed. Why? Don't know, don't care, logic matters not in these things. But then, as if to further mock those taken aback by the male bath, Larocca gets her kit off. Ewwwwwwwwwww. The other incidental nudity is nice, but I wish Larocca would never get cast in anything again.

Maybe not everyone is watching Bone Sickness to see Griff and breasts; there may just be one or two interested in the horror elements. The zombies start off skeletal at first, which looked cool, but for the most part they look like what you'd find as part of a Misfits stage show. As for the bloodshed, as the film progresses, the gore gets more creative and excessive. The blood is never thick enough, it looks like everyone's pumpin' Cherry Cordial through their veins, but some of the ideas are pretty fully on. The gore quality is somewhere between Nekromantik and Nekromantik 2. One thing to commend Bone Sickness for is taking a distinctly Eastern view when it comes to the topic of worms. I'm not sure that it's a nice trend, but Bone Sickness have some really nasty, unique things happenin' on the invertebrate front.

The film doesn't quite escape its low budget. The build up is far too slow and unengaging. The acting, apart from one zombie (just don't ask which one), is best left unmentioned, and writer/director/star Brian Paulin needs a hair intervention. There're also some editing gaffs that hurt coherency, and plot holes abound. The finale happily delivers way more than expected, though, and has more chaos than any other no-budget wonder I can think of.
Bone Sickness is presented full frame. The film was shot on video, so expect grain and haze. This is at its worst in early dark scenes, but clarity improves in better lit environments. There're also a few digital glitches.
The audio is a two-channel English language track. The intro is very bassy, and while it doesn't boom through the whole film, the bass can come back with a vengeance and drown out dialogue. I had to turn my sub way down, and still had problems. The track is too loud, and a bit muffled. There're also blips, volume jumps, and background noise.
Extra Features
The DVD comes with a small photo gallery, Bone Sickness' trailer, and trailers for City Of Rott, Ichi-1, Nails, Vision of Suffering, and Das Komabrutale Duell. Longer extras include a behind the scenes, an interview, and the rest of the featurettes are essentially outtakes. The behind the scenes runs about 31 minutes, and is made of mostly raw footage, but is interesting for those who want a gander at some of the grander things the crew pulled off with no money. A 16 minute interview with Uncle Creepy from the Horror Channel is interesting, if a bit sycophantic, and reveals that the director shot more gore for the film when he found out the distributor would be Unearthed. There're six minutes of clips actually labelled outtakes, and there are some that are amusing, unlike most SOV productions. "Having Fun On Set" is really 13 minutes more of outtakes. For something completely different, "Scenes That Hurt" is roughly three minutes of stunts and falls outtakes, and there is one thing that's very funny here. The featurette opens with a guy leaping on to flaming barrels for a stunt, and this is immediately followed by the director whingeing about getting caught by a few sticker bushes. For non-outtake related material, viewers can steer towards the commentary, featuring Paulin and star Rich George. The track is actually fairly engaging, but the loud bass from the main movie track filters through and is annoying, and there's too much distortion. The track makes it clear I wasn't the only one wanting nudity, and delves into the extra gore. George is seeing the new footage for the first time while recording the commentary, so you get a pretty good breakdown of what's new or been changed from the previous DVD.
The Verdict
Fans of low budget squirters or zombie flicks will definitely need to check out Bone Sickness. It does push a few boundaries rarely tested in Western films, even if it takes a while to get going. The first hour needed tightening, but there is a cavalcade of gore coming, so if that's all you need from a flick, you'll love this one. It's far better than most low budget zombie flicks, and a decent attempt at emulating old-fashioned exploitation.
Movie Score
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