onehill Road (2017) USA
Directed, written and edited by Todd Sheets
Runtime – 85 minutes
Fuzzy Puppy Film Worx
Lycantropes Motion Pictures
Wild Eye Releasing
Before I begin my ponderance, a question. What should one think when a films opening three minutes are credits set against a blood red moon? A huge chunk those responsible for the FX, creature make up and costume in the film itself. This sets the scene for a feature bursting with grue and carnage, right? It does. And honestly I’ve been let down before after the same treatment.
So, how does Bonehill Road fare? Not being familiar with Mr Sheets work before now I’m headed in somewhat blind obviously with only the blurbs of those pushing the film to guide me.
Straight out of the starting gate the viewer is greeted with a unashamed low to zero budget aura, audio that’s a tad too ‘in your face’ and acting that’s drenched in OTT theatrics typical of a multitude of films within the same genre.
In the opening scene A mother and daughter duo are caught in somewhat of a predicament when (let’s just call him…) Daddy lashes out with flying fists, rage and curses. The two manage to escape, hoping to traverse many miles to the safety of grampas residence. Within no time they somehow find themselves ‘parked’ against a tree (seriously who plants these things on the side of the highway anyhow, anything could happen!) when mummy dearest bows to her daughters wishes to check on something she may or may not have connected with a few miles back.
Flash forward and the duo are scampering across a field and through an industrial district (of sorts) in search of the origins of blared pre-war golden oldies. Did I mention they’re being chased? It’s not important though I’d love to know the author and lyrics to the soothing audio, my foots a tappin’.
Following a spot of BnE (that’s Breaking and Entering and this isn’t, based on that description, ‘Torture Porn’) our hysterical duo reacquaint themselves with a creepy gent whom they first encountered at a rest area several hours previous. Think Stephen King (Creepshow era) mixed with a dash of David Hess and then, and only then, might you be close, although the character is played brilliantly by Andrew Baltes, whose face appears eerily familiar. As it happens he already has guests and a proclivity for activitie’s not typically covered in a Sunday school daily roster.
This guestlist includes Suzy portrayed by Linnea Quigley (famous for her nekkidness and role in Return of the Living Dead and donning a shirt showcasing another film from this features very same director), Tina and Lucy who’s much too busy exploring the dimensions of the upstairs bathtub to introduce herself (so rude).
He did not, however, invite those gathering in the darkness surrounding the house, whom he doesn’t get formally introduced to until much later on.
Schnanigans occur, dinner is served with no ketchup in sight, awkwardness paired with hysterics keeps intelligent conversation to a minimum and much grisliness and bloodletting ensues all of which is backed by the same unrelenting soundtrack/score (that fueled the film in its opening stanza) boasting an effectiveness that does well to heighten tension in scenes that demand it be so. But wait there’s more. Let’s not forget the hirsute collective responsible for guiding the films main characters to the swinging party in the first place. They are still outside looking at each other and scratchin’ at more than their hairy nether regions. They want in. I suspect the food smells delicous and the naked lady in the tub has been teasing them with glimpses from a small window high above.
In attempting entry they somehow manage to steer the feature into more a Night of the Living Dead board-up-the-windows affair than the more traditional, hunter prey, antics usually associated with the werewolf genre.
With that in mind however there is an applaudably unhurried transformation scene that’s unexpectedly entertaining though predictable (even if you’ve never seen a solitary film from the genre), especially on account of the films budget, which came by way of a successful Indiegogo campaign.
The films effects (while I’m still on the subject) are plentiful, vivid, unflinchingly displayed and grisly, sure to please those who thrive on high gore quotient. The creatures are also plentiful, varied in appearance, boasted early on, though often appear to enjoy voyeurism and peeping tom antics rather than collecting fresh, raw ingredients for what could be termed their ‘once in a blue moon’ opportunity for a decent buffet. When they finally get their shit together the film transforms into a cat n mouse affair (huh?) With furballs shed wily-nily and throats a-plundered all throughout the house all set to appropriate synth to get the blood pumpin’.
Sans dropping spoilers like viscera torn from a soon to be inbetween meals snack I’ll cease my (brief, haha) synopsis here in order that I might give my first impressions.
Bonehill Road works on many levels. It checks off all the ingredients needed for a successful entry into the arena. It has blood (lots), babes (not of the typical college age but still delicous nevertheless) and boobs, not to mention guts, sinew and rent flesh. Applaudable to also note is that all the effects are practical rather than CGI.
Naturally Bonehill Road is a little silly at times and way over dramatic but not overly so in say, a Troma way. Although the spot after the credits including a KISS tribute duo could well make Lloyd proud.
Shots of the surrounding locale are effective showcasing the areas beauty and how certain light could well make it appear menacing.
Small complaints, on a personal level, include the use of a full Nightwish type track towards the films climax and scenes which have been exhaustively covered in much the same way before. I’ll hasten to say that a few, and even spats of dialogue, reminded me of a classic within the genre by name of Dog Soldiers. The grindhouse-esque creepiness factor could have been explored a little further and extended shots of a few of the creatures jaws and 3 AAA lit eyeballs that could well have been utilized a lot less.
In this case though likes much over weighed the dislikes resulting in this becoming a feature I have few qualms in recommending.
Leave your Hollywood expectations at the door and you’ll have fun here.
To make ownership even more enticing is the fact that this is also available in a limited quantity VHS format.
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