Why is it that rappers always end up breaking into acting? Seriously, more than any other music genre, Rap seems to be the one that turns performers into actors. Ice T, Ice Cube, Eminem, Snoop Dogg--all have had success as actors, after starting as rappers. This brings us to today's movie, Bones. It's the story of a murdered community leader(Snoop Dogg's character, Bones) who comes back from the dead to wreak havoc on the people who killed him.
Years later, a group of kids decide to use his murder site as the spot for a new nightclub. Their intrusion awakens him, and Bones goes after his murderers, as well as anyone who flaunts their immorality in his presence. Just say no, kids!
In addition to Snoop Dogg, the film stars '70's film icon Pam Grier as Snoop's lover Pearl, former "The Pretender" star Michael T. Weiss(almost unrecognizable in a fat suit...at least I HOPE it was a suit!) as crooked cop "Loopy Lupovich", and Ginger Snaps star Katharine Isabelle as the token white hippie-chick Tia. And that's about it, as far as recognizable faces go.
The first 2 killings are a pair of nimrod college students who want to buy some pot. Now, maybe this is just me, but if these guys are in college already, wouldn't it be easier to just look for the dorm room with all the funny smoke lingering around the door and the stereo blasting Phish? Is pot on campus so rare that you need to drive to the unsafest neighborhood in the city to score some?
Anyway, these 2 dingleberries get attacked by Snoop's "demon dogg", before the ghost of Snoop himself drags them away. And then we get the credits. In "Addams Family" movie font. Great. Is there any Tim Burton claymation??? We see the Jimmy Bones literally throwing money around at people while dressed as Easy Reader from The Electric Company. One of his associates in the neighborhood wants him to invest in the street drug trade and he refuses. Hmmmm, think this will piss off the wrong people?
So we go back to present-day slum after the credits, as our hopeful young schmucks buy the building Jimmy was murdered in. The one who actually bought the building, Patrick, is the only person in the group who thinks this was a wise investment, which makes him automatically the dumbest character in the film. Seems that the building was owned by his dad Jeremiah's company, and was bought VERRRRY cheap. As Patsy gives them a tour of Club Condemned Deathtrap, they get attacked by the same Hellhound from a few scenes ago, and Tia brins it back home. This makes her the SECOND dumbest person in the film so far. She feeds it a burger and fails to notice the ghostly shadow that spreads across the walls behind her. I guess cheeseburgers wake up vengeful spirits. Wow.
They decide that the only way to get the building ready as a nightclub is to move in. Or they could, you know, just light a match and walk away. Just a thought, Patrick. They get TWO ominous warnings about the dog on the way out of the building, one from the local neighborhood snoop, and the other from Pearl. They decide to follow Pearl home, mostly because her daughter, named Cynthia(played by Bianca Lawson, who was criminally under-used as Kendra on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") is "yo, fe-yine!" and all. Pearl is apparently a bit of a medium nowadays, and more than a little looney. They decide that if she really was a psychic, she'd be smart enough to not have her shop in a ghetto. Good point, but can't that same logic be applied to these dumbasses?
Oh well. The story switches briefly back to the drug dealers, who find out from their "boss" Eddie Mack, that the 2 college preppies they sold pot to were found mutilated. This prompts a visit from Loopy, who of course gets very little help in his investigation of the murders. He gives Mack his pot back, and Mack returns the favor by paying him off with a nice bribe. As he leaves, Loopy is told that Jeremiah sold Bones' old building. Oh, and Jeremiah is the father of Tia and Patrick. Sheesh, I need a scorecard to keep track of all these characters! Remember when horror films were nice, simple "a bunch of nameless kids die every 2 minutes" affairs?
Anyway, Loopy pays a visit to Jeremiah to remind him that selling a building where they committed a murder is usually not smart. The following day Patrick gets a similar visit from Cynthia. Hmmmm, foreshadowing? Before this has a chance to go anywhere, the movie drags us back to the building, where Bones is trying to scare these kids away. In one of the best visual effects, we see a room where the walls are transformed into walls of condemned souls that are anxious to start dragging away one of our protagonists. Neat.
Pearl tries to lecture her daughter about how evil the building is, but coming from a crazy psychic, the warning rings a bit hollow. Pearl has a flashback to the day Bones died, where she "predicted" his death when reading his palm. After the flashack ends, the photo of him that she kept comes to life, and he looks up at her from it. Why is it that this sort of stuff never convinces people to stop what they're doing IMMEDIATELY???
The next day, Cynthia pays the building a visit. While she's there, Patrick and the rest of the group find out that the plumbing is leaking blood instead of water. This leads them to the basement where the devil dog forces a hidden door open, and they all discover the remains of Jimmy Bones. As the main group argues over whether or not to call the cops and report the skeletal remains, Pearl's daughter finds another room, where a spirit catches her eye. Cynthia gets a fairly good look at the ghostly presence, but Patrick distracts her and gets her out of there. On the way out of the basement, one of the kids steals the ring off of the corpse's remains. This somehow begins the process of bringing Jimmy back to life.
As Jimmy begins the reanimation process, Cynthia is making out with Patrick. She senses Jimmy's presence, which is a definite mood-breaker. Pearl, who is holding a seance for some Asian clients, also senses his presence nearby. She tries to summon him, unaware that she is putting her own daughter in danger, and the 2 women share the same vision. Panicking, Pearl ends the seance to run over to the building, and make sure that her daughter is alive and well. After 1 final warning about staying in the haunted building, she takes her daughter home.
The following morning, Patrick drives Jeremiah to the building to show off his new nightclub, "Illbient". Ummmm, HUH? Isn't that a sleeping pill? Dad, of course, flips out and tells him to tear it down. Good, very subtle way of not getting your family suspicious of you, Dad. Being in a horror movie, the club stays up. On his way back to the car, Jeremiah also sees his partners in crime enjoying watching him squirm.
This leads to a flashback about the day of the murder. Lupovich is there, not yet in his fat suit; Jeremiah is there, trying to sell Bones on the financial "big picture" of dealing with drugs; Bones' personal bodyguard is there(he's the guy who's been glaring at people from his apartment window the whole friggin' movie...not even sure he has a name); and Eddie Mack is there, I guess to remind us that he's still in the movie too. When Jimmy Bones refused to allow drugs into his community, 2 things happened: 1.) Loopy and Mack forced Bones to "sample" their drugs at gunpoint; and 2.) Pearl walked in on the tense encounter. Loopy shot Bones, and then Mack and he shot him several more times. They all make the decision to take a turn stabbing Bones, to ensure that they all have an equal amount of guilt in his murder. When Pearl refuses, they threaten to shoot her, so Bones grabs her hand and makes her stab him through the chest. Awwwww, it's twue wuv!
After a VERY abrupt scene transition, the Illbient Club(still the dumbest name EVER) is celebrating opening night. They're all waving their hands in the air, like they just don't care! It's even possible that the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire! Cynthia shows up looking incredibly sexy(oops, I may have just shorted out my laptop from all the drool...)
The Hell Hound, Devil Dogg, or whatever you want to call it shows up and sees the stolen ring from the earlier scene on Maurice(the deejay)'s finger. Somehow, this turns the hound into a hot chick. He tells another deejay to take over for him, and follows the Hell-Bitch(What?? She's a DOG!!! Literally!) out of the main room. In a darker room, she transforms back into the hound and tears him apart. Bones then uses the chewed flesh to reassemble his own flesh. I'm pretty sure this is scientifically sound.
After the other deejay complains, Patrick goes looking for Maurice. He finds the dog eating him, and the dog's head morphs into a human head long enough to make a crack about fried chicken. Wow. Clever. Before Patrick can set the civil rights movement back with a response about watermelon, the hound barfs 30 tons of maggots all over him. Yummy. The hound then becomes the Smoke Monster from "LOST", and enters Snoop's---uhhh, I mean "Bones"' ---body to resurrect him.
The maggots like hip-hop music, so they decide to crash the dance. A girl drinks one in her beer, they get into the stereo, etc., and all Hell breaks loose. Bones makes his way through the chaotic crowd, and throws a knife at Patrick and Cynthia, which misses, before grabbing his ring off of Maurice's severed hand. As they watch the dumbest-named nightclub in history burn to the ground, Patrick and Cynthia are reunited with Pearl, who spots Bones in the doorway of Illbient. He vanishes. The end! YAYYYYYYYY!
Aw shoot, it's still going....*deep breath* Okay, So Pearl then tells Cynthia the biggest non-shock in history: Bones is her father. DUH. The math seems slightly off, until I remember this takes place in the 1990's.
The next to die is the bodyguard. He sees Bones at the bottom of a shot glass, literally speaking. He begs for mercy, but Bones tells him that his chance for mercy ended when he betrayed their friendship. Then he slices the guy's throat and watches him die. I wish he had asked him what his name was first.
While Bones is strolling down Memory Lane(again, quite literally), Patrick goes home to interrogate his father about the fire at the nightclub. He tells Jeremiah that his friends are all dead because of the secrets he's been keeping, and demands to know exactly what those secrets are.
Before Jeremiah can admit what he did, 2 thugs die. They try to mug Bones, and when he tears them apart, their blood-stained splatter hits a brick wall in the shape of their bodies. Sounds cooler than it actually is. While 2 guys we know nothing about get murdered, Pearl is doing her own Tarot card reading. This gives her a temporary spiritual link to Bones, but the link is disrupted when Cynthia enters the room and snaps her mother out of the trance. She tells her daughter that they all deserve to die for killing Bones, but Cynthia points out that most of his victims had nothing to do with his murder. TOUCHE. Nice of the script to save me the trouble of having to point out the biggest plotholes.
Eddie Mack and his bimbo are up for victim status. They snort some coke, then the bimbo leaves to "freshen up"(nothing short of a HAZMAT suit will accomplish this goal, trust me). When she fails to return, Mack tries to find her. He finds her blood instead, followed by her body stashed in a garbage bin. As he tries to arm himself for an onslaught, Bones uses his knife on Mack's pool table. causing blood to bubble up from the table. When he attempts to shoot Bones to death, Bones responds by holding up a mirror. The mirror shatters and the shards pin Mack to the wall. Bones delivers the killing blow by slitting Mack's throat and beheading him.
Loopy gets a phone call from Mack, telling him that they need to meet. Apparently, Bones can keep his head alive. Sure, why the Hell not? Makes as much sense as anything else thus far. They do some unfunny shtick for awhile, then head on over to meet Loopy.
Loopy finds some candles lit up at the rendezvous point, and Bones forces a crack pipe into his fat, fakey lips, then removes both his lips and his nostrils. As Loopy suffocates under the smooth area where his blow-holes used to be, Bones carves into his chest like it's a Thanksgiving turkey. Bones takes his head as well, then goes out to find Jeremiah. Oh, and both heads keep right on yammering away! How does that work, exactly? Didn't Loopy just lose his mouth??? Geez movie, try to remember your OWN damn plot!
Bones pays a visit to Jeremiah's home next, at exactly the same time that Pearl, Cynthia, some other dude and Patrick all get there. The house fills with both smoke and potential corpses, as we get Tia, Pearl, Cynthia, Tia and Patrick's mom, and Patrick all trying to escape together. Gee, I wonder if they'll all survive to the end of the film?
Back in his Hell-lair, Bones reunites Jeremiah with Loopy and Mack. He makes a brief speech about giving his killers what they deserve before picking up Loopy's screaming head and adding it to the wall of trapped souls we saw earlier. Mack tries to bribe Bones to let him live(how would THAT work exactly???), but Bones adds him to the wall as well.
Pearl works out how Bones came back from the dead, having to do with blood being spilled at the beginning when the kids first entered the building. They go back to the walled-off area where the skeleton was discovered, and Pearl remembers that his corpse was wrapped in her bloody dress. She believes the quickest way to return him to the dead is to find the dress and burn it. As they start sifting around in the debris to find the dress, Jimmy grabs Jeremiah and starts toying with him.He continually pushes Jeremiah into the soul-wall and pulls him out, to give him a taste of what Hell is like from the inside. He shoulda just watched Gutterballs.
As Bones is giving Jeremiah a preview of his immediate future, the chamber the others are in begins suffering a quake of some kind. The exit gets blocked as a result, and they work together to start clearing the doorway...well, everyone except Pearl does anyway. She stays back a bit, and is the first to hear an elevator descending to the basement. The elevator door opens, and she cautiously approaches to investigate further. The doors close as soon as she's in. Of course.
Jeremiah tries to bribe Bones, but as he did with Mack, Bones throws Jeremiah into the wall of souls. Oh, and utters the immortal line, "Dog eat dog, brutha. Dog eat dog." Nice. He finishes condemning Jeremiah to Hell just as Pearl steps off the elevator. She finds herself surrounded by so many candles, it must be Dick Clark's birthday. She gets into the center of the room and touches the spot where Bones died, bringing on another vision of his death. When the vision ends, Bones appears right behind her. He gives her the dress they had talked about earlier, and she transforms into the 1970's version of herself, afro and all.
While Bones is seducing her to The Dark Side, the rest of the group that stayed behind are trying to escape. They find the building has become an ad for cotton candy, and that the halls are now endless caverns. Cynthia theorizes that the house has become the City of the Dead, mostly because Bones is becoming stronger with each person he kills. She tells Patrick and Other Guy that if they just remember the floorplan of the building, they should be able to get to the exit. While they travel through a pink set that looks like Liberace's dream house, Bones is still trying to convince Pearl to join him in a Hellish union.
In Deadsville, the 3 kids meet up with Maurice's soul, who leads them down a passage. The generic kid (named "Bill", apparently, because Patrick screams his name) follows him and gets trapped and added to the wall. Patrick and Cynthia find Bones and Pearl dressed for a pimps 'n' ho's convention. They both welcome Cynthia into their new "family", despite Patrick urging her not to go with them. Unsure what to do next, Patrick sees a mirror transform into the wall of damned souls. His dad begs him for help, and then tries to pull him into the wall as well. I guess going to Hell makes you kind of a dick to others.
Frightened, Patrick stabs at the wall with the same knife that was used on Bones, making him lose some of his supernatural influence. Cynthia looks into the mirror and sees that Bones is no longer there embracing her mother, but the mother is still mesmerized. As Cynthia and Patrick are about to reunite, Bones appears behind Patrick in his demonic form, which looks alot like the vamps from the Buffy series. He lifts Patrick up by his neck, but Pat manages to stab him a few times, and spirits escape through the wounds. Bones even does one of those "a hahahahaha!" villain laughs. Using the spirits, Bones starts spinning the kid around in an attempt to tear him to pieces. Or maybe being dizzy in Hell is just a really bad thing.
Broken out of the illusion Pam Grier sees that her Disco look wasn't real, and she picks up one of the candles. She tells Bones that she loves him, then uses the candle to immolate herself and the dress to defeat him. When he rushes over to try to stop her, Bones is also engulfed in the flames. As his power fades, so does the Hell Bones has created. Patrick and Cynthia decide to leave before they die as well. The souls of the murdered rush past them, and Pat and Cyn finally manage to get outside again...but wait! As Patrick starts examining the debris, he finds the old picture of Bones and Cynthia, and Bones turns to look up at him. While Patrick tries to figure out what it means, Cynthia reveals a mouthful of maggots, which get spewed onto Patrick. Yum! THE END.
Well, this one was a ton of silly, gory fun. It wasn't War and Peace, but the imagery and the acting was strong enough to make it an entertaining guilty pleasure. There were a lot of plotholes, though: For one, whatever happened to Tia? They just sort of forgot about her after everyone meets up at the house. Also, why would Bones go after victims that had no connection to him or what was done to him? I mean, sure, a slasher flick needs a body count, but just rewrite the script a bit to make his choices a little more logical. Eh, maybe this is just one of those cases where a person needs to shut off their brain a bit and just enjoy the pretty pictures. 4 and a half killer tree out of 5.
So what has Bones taught me?
-You should not drive while taking Illbient, and you should consult your physician if you start to experience headaches, nausea, dizziness...
-Bianca Lawson, Katharine Isabelle, and Pam Grier would be a fun group-grope for me.
-Snoop Dogg is anti-drugs. Fo' shizzle, my nizzles! Whoop whoop!!
Next up: probably Intruder, a slasher set in a grocery store. Cleanup in aisle 13! If not, I may start on the original Friday the 13ths, as they're all on Netflix Instant now.