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Review: BONEHILL ROAD (2017)

Of all the classic monsters, probably the most poorly used has been the werewolf. While there have been some wonderful films like those of Spain’s Paul Naschy to genuine classics like DOG SOLDIERS and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, lycanthropes have tended to be featured in dull films or as supporting characters in films like the UNDERWORLD franchise. However, 2017 has seen indie filmmakers give the character a well-needed boost, first with Shawn Burkett’s BETSY and now Todd Sheets (HOUSE OF FORBIDDEN SECRETS, Hi-Death) gives us BONEHILL ROAD.

Emily (Eli DeGeer, EMPIRE STATE OF THE DEAD) and her daughter Eden (Ana Rojas-Plumberg, DREAMING PURPLE NEON) make a narrow escape from Emily’s drunken and abusive boyfriend. Going to stay with her father (Gary Kent, BUBBA HO-TEP, MOTORPSYCHO MANIACS) they have a run-in with a creepy guy at a rest area.

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After a close encounter with what they at first think is a bear, they crash their car and find themselves fleeing from a group of werewolves. Taking refuge in what seems like an abandoned house, they find it’s occupied by the creep from the rest area (Douglas Epps, DREAMING PURPLE NEON). It seems he’s a cannibal and has several women, including Linnea Quigley (THE BARN, CLOWNADO)in a small but vital role, captive. Now they must survive his attacks and still deal with the creatures outside.

For a film with such a small budget, BONEHILL ROAD has some big ideas and carries them off very well. THE HOWLING style werewolves are impressive practical creatures’ no CGI is used at all. The transformation scenes are also extensive and painful looking. There’s no scrimping on the effects or cutting away here. And of course, being a Todd Sheets, film there’s plenty of gore on display as well. It takes a bit longer than I expected to arrive, but it certainly satisfies when it does.

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The script goes in some unexpected places and while some folk may feel cheated by the fact that it detours away from the werewolf story into serial killer territory, I found it a nice twist. The killer is appropriately sick and twisted, and it provides the opportunity for some serious gore while setting up the film’s climax. I can’t deny I’d have been happy to have seen more of the creatures, but I certainly wasn’t unhappy with what I got.

BONEHILL ROAD captures the look and feel of classic 80s SOV horror, (no surprise given Sheet’s filmography), but with better effects and truly excellent cinematography. The presence of genre vets Quigley and Kent also adds to the retro feel. And stick around for a final scene after the credits that feature some wicked humour and effects.

BONEHILL ROAD is a film that is more than worth making the effort to see with an audience on its festival run.

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