Studio: Wild Eye Releasing
Director: Brett DeJager
Writer: Keith Melcher
Producer: Zeke Hanson, Brett DeJager
Stars: Kelly Misek Jr., Jamie Scott Gordon, Julia Cavanaugh, Hannah Richter, Devin Toft, Lawrence Wayne Curry, Elissa Dowling, Reggie Bannister
Misfit cops use a supernatural serial killer to combat zombies in a small town cursed by a witch.
It took a mutilated janitor and an entire police force to lure him, but a well-timed taser shot has finally taken down supernatural serial killer Mr. Bonejangles. Now it is up to the three surviving officers and a flamboyant new recruit to transport the skull-faced behemoth to the small town of Argento so he can be shipped off to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium.
That’s just the half of it. A potentially bigger problem is that it is April 18th, which is when Argento’s dead rise from their graves to wreak havoc on every citizen in sight. 100 years ago, part-time prostitute and full-time succubus Rowena Abernathy was burned at the stake. But not before cursing every man who had sex with her to become a flesh-eating minion on the anniversary of her death every year.
Zombies, a witch, and a murderous maniac should be reasons enough why nebbish policeman Doug wants nothing to do with this assignment. Except Argento happens to be his hometown. Going back home after ten years away means he will have to finally face his abandoned high school sweetheart Sally, and on the same day she is set to marry his bullying nemesis Clint no less.
Not only does Doug have to corral a voodoo-powered killer and break a century-old curse, but he also has to prevent the love of his life from becoming lost to him forever. That’s if his sex-obsessed partner Randy doesn’t fall under Rowena’s spell, or the ghouls don’t destroy everyone first.
It should be evident from the tongue in the summary’s cheek that “Bonejangles” isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Trouble is, the brow of its humor hangs so low that it is also difficult to take as a comedy, no matter how intentional its juvenile jocularity might be.
When “Bonejangles” is sending up inherent absurdity in well-worn horror movie tropes, its microbudget style suits the slight snark. “Bonejangles” clearly wasn’t made for much money. But when a severed arm looks like it was built for $5 using off-the-shelf Halloween Store clearance items, it actually fits the schlocky tone intended for some of the sillier scenes.
Where “Bonejangles” misses the mark by miles is in its stale one-liners and dopey dialogue, which is where the bulk of comedic content comes from. Boner jokes, virginity jokes, insults about which hand constitutes someone’s girlfriend; I haven’t heard phrases like “on the rag” since seventh grade, and this brand of bad material wasn’t clever at that age either.
Humor falls flat on multiple fronts. Taking a swipe at Susan Boyle’s physical appearance is already a low blow. But the movie bears a 2016 copyright date and Boyle’s “Britain’s Got Talent” fame peaked in 2009. The jab isn’t even current.
In a similar vein, a line like, “my pecker is as flaccid as cornmeal mush” also isn’t funny to begin with. Out of the mouth of an amateur actor with no sense of inflection or timing, it sounds even worse. Then again, “protect your wee winkie!” doesn’t necessarily sound better coming from “Phantasm” vet Reggie Bannister, whose two quick flashback scenes appear to have been shot out in under an hour.
If its eyes ever looked above the belt, “Bonejangles” might see that its off-the-wall premise has promise. Making the film frustrating is this fact that there is a germ here for a movie that would be a lot more fun with a smarter sense of humor.
I can get past rough-edged aesthetics because sets are at least lit competently, the camera is on a tripod, and editing has a rhythm. Cast and crew are clearly Kermit green, but they just as clearly put their best effort into the production.
What I can’t get past is how the film’s arms never bend at the elbow or shoulder to pick anything other than the most obvious fruit. Nodding at names like Myers, Raimi, Argento, etc. isn’t any more fashionable than using an outrageously gay character for cheap knocks involving homosexual hillbillies.
A more experienced cast and a punched up script that punched out tiresome nonsense could make “Bonejangles” a horror/comedy force to really be reckoned with. Should its current bag of boobs, blood, and bland gags built for enjoyment with a Budweiser and a blunt be your thing, have at it. “Bonejangles” probably has enough lowbrow entertainment to get a guffaw out of a locker room crowd in its current condition.
Review Score: 40