Release Date: October 24th, 2001 | Runtime: 1 hour and 36 minutes | MPAA Rating: M | Coolthulhus Earned: 4
With a 4.1 rating on IMDB this movie, in my opinion, is criminally underrated. There are a few missteps but overall this is a well-done mix of horror with a crime mystery to chew on as well.
The sets of Bones are great. I love the Bones building. The City of the Dead has a great atmosphere and the lighting makes it look cold and unforgiving. The CGI might be a bit iffy by today’s standards but it still holds up decently.
The plot is a creepy mix of horror, Tales from the Crypt, and a crime mystery with an urban legend vibe to it. These elements seem like they shouldn’t work together well but they do. I believe this is due, in part, to how streamlined the plot actually is. The intro scene shows us the building, gives us a tease about what might be lurking there and keeps up the tension from there. The credit sequence gives us a mini-story, entirely visually, about the street itself. From its good days to how it ended up without Bones’ patronage and the introduction of crack. A lot of reviews slam the movie about not hammering this point home but c’mon. It’s a horror movie. It makes its point and sets up the fact that Bones was keeping his neighborhood tight and going strong. And just like an good larger-than’life character that verges into legend he even has his own song.
“This is the story of Jimmy Bones, dark as night and hard as stone. Gold-plated deuce like the King of Siam, got a switchblade loose and a diamond on his hand”
And, this is a bit nit-picky, but I love knives so this stood out to me. I’d like to point out that the knife Jimmy uses is a butterfly knife. And quite well. They look easy to twirl around but they’re not. Trust me. Got a few knuckle and finger scars to prove it. But switchblade was probably easier to work into a rhyme than butterfly knife.
The younger cast members are able in their parts. Patrick, the son of one of Bones’ friends, along with his step-sister Tia, their brother Bill and friend Maurice is purchasing the house to turn it into a club – Illbient. The supernatural crap hits the fan when they discover a random dog that they keep and feed, unknowingly bringing Bones back to life. They also find a skeleton in the basement that they blow off with surprising ease. Maurice also pulls a ‘bonehead’ move early on when not only does he steal Bones’ ring but breaks off a finger to do so. One thing you do not do is steal the Doggfather’s ring. Ever. They don’t really stand out but they move the story along capably enough and don’t drag it down.
The haunting portion of it is a little uneven as sometimes the scenes seem to be a little random. They culminate in Bones being fully reincarnated (well, as much as a ghost can be) in a very freaking cool vision/nightmare sequence. Seriously, this part alone is worth watching it for. If for nothing else than to see Snoop do a badass gunslinger stroll.
Really, for me, the best parts were the mystery portions. It’s pretty easy to figure out who did what and why but it still draws you in. Barring Bones’ return, they’re some of the best portions in the movie. Bones’ revenge is fun and full of all kinds of craziness like a bleeding pool table, talking heads and a whole City of the Dead. A bit of humour is injected into the plot at this point and you’ll either love it or hate it. I thought it was a nice nod to the Tales from the Crypt style that Snoop obviously loves. Don’t believe me? Check out Hood of Horror. Tales from the Crypting all over the place. Some people didn’t like it, however, complaining it broke the more serious mood set up previously.
This may seem like an overly long review but it is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Analyzing it, a lot of the parts don’t seem to match and it doesn’t sound very good. But when you’re watching it that doesn’t seem to matter. It sucks you in and doesn’t let go. And there are some very genuinely awesome scenes. The previously mentioned nightmare scene, the City of the Dead, and Bones’ betrayal. It’s (quite literally) a stab in the heart.
A lot of that is due to the charisma between Snoop and Pam Grier, the original Foxy Brown. Their chemistry is great together. As a side-note, watching the DVD commentary it’s cute to see Snoop basically fangirling about being able to kiss Foxy Brown and be her boyfriend. Who, I will say, is looking pretty damn foxy in it.
In wrap-up this movie is creepy, cool and just outright fun to watch. And I also want to put this here just because…eye candy: