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Review: THE BONE BOX (2019)

Graverobbing is one of the oldest criminal activities known to man. Ghost stories are one of the oldest types of fiction known to man. Writer/director Luke Genton (The Bell Keeper, Snow Falls) has combined the two in The Bone Box, a new psychological horror film.

Tom (Gareth Koorzen) has been having a hard time of it since his wife’s death. Things have spiralled out of control, and he’s living with his Aunt Florence (Maria Olsen, Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge, Ashes) while he tries to come up with the cash to pay off his gambling debts. And Benji (Aaron Schwartz, The Mighty Ducks, Slasher Party) is getting very tired of waiting for his money.

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Desperate, Tom teams up with the equally cash-strapped Elodie (Michelle Krusiec, The Invitation). Her father is the undertaker, and she can tell him where all townsfolk who did take it with them are buried. This brings the suspicions of Sheriff Burrows (David Chokachi, Army Of The Damned, Emerald Run) and Deputy Kade (Jamie Bernadette, 4/20 Massacre, Dead by Dawn) down on him. Worse, it seems to have brought the anger of the dead down on him.

The Bone Box is an old-fashioned ghost story. The kind that doesn’t rely on a lot of effects or jump scares. It’s about things faintly heard or seen out of the corner of the eye. The feeling you’re not alone in an empty house. This isn’t one of those films with CGI ghosts popping up or portals to hell in the basement. If you’ve seen any episodes of the BBC’s “A Ghost Story for Christmas” or The Changeling, then you’ll have an idea of what to expect here.

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The fact that Tom is the only one who can see or hear any of this adds to the creep factor. Is he being haunted by those he stole from? Or is his mind cracking from the loss of his wife? And from the strain of the situation he’s in now? The Bone Box keeps its cards close to its chest on this, not showing its hand until the very end.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Bone Box’s quieter kind of horror. For the most part, I didn’t even mind the lack of effects. I was annoyed at one point when the screen goes black just to cover the fact that they couldn’t afford a stuntman. My only other real complaint was how few scenes Maria Olsen and Jamie Bernadette had together. Their scenes together were the best part of I Spit On Your Grave: Déjà Vu.

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Terror Films are rolling The Bone Box out to streaming services over the next couple of months. You can get more details on the Terror Films Facebook page.

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