One of my most recent reviews was of a movie directed by independent filmmaker, Todd Sheets. While it wasn’t my favorite low-budget flick of recent times, it had a lot of potential. For that reason, I was excited to check out another of his features, which also happens to have received a recent home video release. Read on to see how Bonehill Road measures up.
On the run from her abusive husband, Emily and her daughter, Eden, run into even bigger problems when a pack of werewolves suddenly attacks their vehicle. As if that wasn’t enough, the house that they find refuge in is inhabited by a cannibalistic serial killer and his victims. Now they have to escape the killer and the bloodthirsty pack of wolves just itching for their next meal.
I have to admit, guys… I’m conflicted about this one. Four years have passed since House of Forbidden Secrets was made. Because of this, I was expecting Bonehill Road to be light years ahead of that project in almost all aspects of film making — sound design, cinematography, etc. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Todd Sheets is a jack of all trades when it comes to his films. He is credited as director, writer, editor, lighting department, etc. I think this is a fantastic thing, but perhaps it spreads the man too thin. I think if he was able to give some of these responsibilities to others, he’d make a better film in the end.
Bonehill Road features supbar sound design, wherein whenever someone speaks too loudly, or even worse, screams, it sounds extremely muffled (for lack of a better term). I can compare it to when someone holds a microphone to closely to their mouth when speaking into it. It is quite jarring at times and makes some scenes more difficult to sit through.
The cinematography is another area in which things seem to take a step backwards from Sheets’ previous work. About 90% of the film was composed of close-up shots, no further than 10 inches from an actor’s face. In fact, the furthest you ever see anybody is about five yards. I’m not sure if this was done because of the close quarters in which Sheets and his team had to work, but I wish the DP would have just taken a few steps back more than once.
Not all things about Bonehill Road are bad, however. Actors Eli DeGeer and Ana Plumberg do a wonderful job playing the mother/daughter duo of Emily and Eden Stevens. Their performances make it easier to sit through some of the less desirable moments of the film. In addition to these talented actors, genre fans are treated to a cameo performance by scream queen Linnea Quigley.
In terms of special effects, Bonehill Road is a mixed bag. Minor things like cuts and bruises came across very poorly on screen, while victims being stabbed and eviscerated or sawed apart are actually much more impressive. The most impressive feat, however, is without a doubt, the creature design of the vicious werewolf family.
As the film rolled on, I was becoming more and more anxious about how the werewolves would look. Half expecting some poor excuse for CGI mixed with a feral dog costume, I was pleasantly surprised to see some real brooding wolves appear before me! The werewolf design in this film is phenomenal. I have seen films with budgets ten times this one with creature effects that didn’t even come close to that of Bonehill Road. Kudos to the special make-up and effects team that worked on those hairy monstrosities.
No werewolf film worth their salt is complete without a transformation scene. I was trepidatious about what the inevitable scene would look like, but yet again, I was met with a pleasant surprise. As human transformed to beast, I couldn’t help but smile. It was brutal and beautiful all at once.
Negativity aside, Bonehill Road is a decent werewolf film made on a shoestring budget. If you can get past the strange choices for close-up camera shots and inferior sound design, you will have no problem enjoying this one.
Bonehill Road is out now on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing, so pick up your copy today!
I give this one 2 fork stabs to the nipple out of 5.