Good Story With Potential, But Falls A Little Short
K. Fontenot | The Bayou State | 10/14/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen plenty of movies like this one. It has a neat story line in it, but for the obvious reasons that hinder B-movies, it falls short of its potential. "The Bone Snatcher" starts off well enough, with three miners being attacked and stripped of their flesh by some "thing." A group seeks out the three missing individuals and come upon two of their skeletal remains. The third member of the party is accused of murder by one of the search party members. Tracking his footprints, they find his remains as well. They decide to hunt down the real murderer, which leads to a classic B-movie scenario of the team members being picked off one-by-one as the group slowly comes to realize what they are chasing. Though this is considered a horror film, there isn't much to horrify you in this picture.
The actual "Bone Snatcher" creature looks pretty good considering there probably wasn't much of a budget for the flick. Most of the acting is done in a very stiff fashion, though a couple of the characters, especially Magda, do manage to connect with the audience. Scott Bairstow is mediocre, especially considering that he is the "star" of the show. His acting isn't very convincing to me. In fact, he looks like he doesn't even want to be there. Rachel Shelley is a beautiful lady, and I hope that her career moves beyond this type of "B" fare. Her character is pretty interesting, but it's pulled off in a confused sort of way. The rest of the cast is cluttered with stock "B" characters placed on the screen for the sole purpose of being the next victim.
The story moves along at a snails pace, and the action is thin and spread far apart. The best scene involves the "snatcher" and a team member in a sleeping bag. The CGI is along the same lines as those in "The Mummy Returns." That's pretty good considering the funds available for this flick.
So why did I give it three stars? First of all, it's an above-average B-movie with a really good story, even though it drops off as the movie trudges along. Secondly, the creature effects are done very well despite a low budget. Finally, the scenery is shot very well, making the best of the desert surroundings. Overall, this movie is worthy of two to three viewings, and then it will collect dust on the shelf. If you like standard Sci-Fi channel fare, then this movie will suffice. Recommended to hardcore sci-fi fans who relish in B-movie schlock and know what to expect from such films."
Derivative but highly atmospheric horror
Cartimand | Hampshire, UK. | 11/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
OK, so the serious horror/sci-fi buff will recognise numerous hat-tips or rip-offs during the Bone Snatcher (Them, Alien, The Thing, Blair Witch, Forbidden Planet, Tremors and many more spring to mind), but it still pulls the right strings and certainly is a well-made, entertaining and memorable movie.
A sandy desolation is not an overused scenario for this genre and I found it made for a delightfully evocative and creepy backdrop to this hefty dollop of grand guignol gore.
The entity, being constructed from human remains is cadaverously grotesque when it finally makes an appearance, and its method of infecting the humans (especially the unfortunate Titus and the poor guy in the sleeping bag) is suitably nasty.
The pace of the move is spot on; an opening shock gives way to a measured section devoted to scene-setting and characterisation, before the real gore-fest begins.
Reasonable acting (although some of the testosterone-fuelled posturing came over as a bit OTT) and the very non-Hollywood accents made for a refreshing change too!
Not bad at all!
Call it the Bone Snatcher or the Sandmother, the results are
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 10/08/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Dr. Zack Straker (Scott Bairstow, "Party of Five") shows up from Canada to do some research at a mining camp in South Africa, but that becomes pretty irrelevant when a group of geologists searching for a diamond mine in the desert of Nambia disappear. So Straker heads out to do search and rescue with the rest of the film's potential victims, Karl (Warrick Grier), Mikki (Rachel Shelley), Titus (Patrick Shai), Kurt (Andre Weidermen), and Magda (Adrienne Pearce). They find the corpses of the three missing men and are stunned to discover the bodies have been reduced to virtual skeletons in just six hours. Since we caught the title of the movie, we know that the culprit is "The Bone Snatcher." Of course, this would make more sense if the creature took the bones and left the flesh, but do you want to sit through a film called "The Flesh Snatcher"?
Actually, the South African title for this film, which also had backing from the UK and Canada, was "Sandmother," which actually fits the plot better than "The Bone Snatcher." I did not know that diamond mines were found in the desert, but the Nambia Desert is the home of some infamous diamond mines discovered in 1908. But the titular creature of this 2003 is found beneath the beneath the sands and not in mine caves, although is she were expecting the relationship between the monster here and the sand to be similar to that between the shark and the water in "Jaws," you will be sadly mistaken. This is one of those horror movies where the mysterious monster shows up, people die, and the star of the movie explains the unexplainable before they kill the monster and he kisses the girl right before the fadeout.
The cinematography is pretty good for this film, which has an unusual problem in that it spends half the time trying to create a sense of horror in blinding bright light on the hot sands of a desert, which, you have to admit, stacks the odds against you. But there are night sequences where things get more conventional. Director Jason Wulfsohn does a more than competent job as long as you are not paying attention to the uninspiring acting by the cast playing out their stereotypical roles and the less than stellar CGI special effects. This DVD has the trailer for the film but nothing else in terms of special features, which makes sense because this film is nothing special. I never really got into it, not even to get some pleasure from taking it apart, although I did entertain rewriting the lyrics to the Monkees' song "Star Collector" to do the plot, but it was just not worth the effort. However, if you know the song and like the idea, go ahead and knock yourself out."
A grade A, "B" movie.
M. A. Ramos | Florida USA | 03/12/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When I sat down to watch this, I expected my normal 1-2 star B movie. I was pleasantly surprised. This South African production is rather thrilling. Though at times the pace seems to slow down. And only a couple of plot line inconsistencies. Considering that this is a low budget B movie, the monster was done well.
Zack Straker, played by Scott Bairstow, is an engineer assigned to a remote mining camp in the South African desert. On his way to camp, they find two bodies stripped of all their flesh. Our band of characters start looking for the person or persons they think did these murders. All the while finding more stripped bodies on the trail they follow. All stripped of their flesh. It will have you on the edge.
Eventually they find out they are not tracking a man. Our scientist wants to study it, while the rest wisely want to kill it. I would not go out of my way to see this movie. But it does deliver good low cost thrills you expect form this type of low budget movie. Exactly what we look for in low cost horror films. So, if you are a "B" movie fan, see it.