Ernest R. Dickerson has been involved in the creation of some pretty important black films. In recent years he’s moved on to directing a lot of television, but in his early career his work on films like Juice and Bones helped him tell stories of black youth caught in the violence of street life. In 1995 he also directed the Tales from the Crypt film Demon Knight, a guilty pleasure for many horror fans. His team-up with Snoop Dogg in Bones might have seemed like yet another jokey foray into horror, but the film’s tongue-in-cheek humor and themes of escaping the hood only to have your kids run straight back to it elevate this from another New Line Cinema flop of the ’00s.
The premise of the film jumps back and forth between the present – early ’00s – and the ’70s, alternating between the story of Patrick (Khalil Kain), Bill (Merwin Mondesir), Maurice (Sean Amsing), and Tia (Katherine Isabelle) attempting to fix up a run-down building in the hood for their DJ parties and the traumatic death of Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg) after a drug deal gone bad in that same building. Dickerson sets up a classic haunted house story, this time with a pretty decrepit building as its base. The haunts work fairly well; there’s a weird amorphous blob of human dead floating around the darkened corners and a dog with red eyes that Tia quickly warms to that gives viewers pause. Bones isn’t particularly scary or tense but it does have some good ideas and a dingy atmosphere to generate mood.
In the flashback sequences, Dickerson focuses on Jimmy Bones’ status as king of the hood in a blaxploitation-esque callback that even utilizes Pam Grier to great effect. The warm color tones make for easy transition from the dark green and blue elements of the present, and Dickerson goes all-in on the character designs with afros and era-consistent dress. Snoop’s also pretty good on his own, but the ’70s storyline is buoyed by its homage-like approach.
Perhaps surprisingly, Bones is a smart, well-written horror film. Its metaphor doesn’t get lost in the admittedly messy finale, either; it’s a struggle to escape the street, and it always seems to pull you back. For all of its bluster and cheese, Dickerson’s film is strong on story and has a solid backbone throughout.
Extensive screenshots from this Blu-ray.
Bones‘ Blu-ray from Scream Factory comes with a new 4k transfer from the camera negative per press materials, though the box art does not specify this. With that said, it does certainly appear that Scream Factory has done some work on the film because the overall picture quality is quite good. There’s a mild grain scale that’s consistent throughout, with moderate detail in close-up shots. The overall color scale is managed well – the film has lots of variant lighting, from greens and blues to the red hues of hellish fire. Overall, these look good without any crush. While some of the visual effects look dated in this new HD scan, Bones looks sharper than its previous availability with a sufficient new transfer.
Audio is presented in both DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Master Audio. I did not have any issues with either track. As you can see from the Spek audio scans below, the overall audio volume on the 2.0 track is higher than the 5.1. English subtitles are also included.
Scream Factory has assembled a nice smattering of extras. Four new interviews make up the meat of this new Blu-ray; director Ernest Dickerson, co-screenwriter Adam Simon, director of photography Flavio Labiano, and special makeup effects artist Tony Gardner all sit down to give mid-length interviews about the production of the film. Most run about 20 minutes, and almost everyone has a story to tell about Snoop. These new interviews are definitely worth a look.
Also included are all previously available bonus features. See the full extras list for the archival interview information.
NEW 4K Scan From The Negative
NEW Building Bones – An Interview With Director Ernest Dickerson (HD; 20:21)
NEW Bringing Out The Dead – An Interview With Co-screenwriter Adam Simon (HD; 17:18)
NEW Urban Underworld – An Interview With Director Of Photography Flavio Labiano (HD; 11:42)
NEW Blood N Bones – An Interview With Special Makeup Effects Artist Tony Gardner (HD; 15:19)
Audio Commentary With Actor Snoop Dogg, Ernest Dickerson, And Adam Simon
Digging Up Bones (unrestored HD; 23:48)
Urban Gothic: Bones And It’s Influences (unrestored HD; 18:57)
Deleted Scenes With Optional Director’s Commentary (unrestored HD; 24:35)
Dogg Named Snoop Music Video (unrestored HD; 7:24)
Theatrical Press Kit With Behind-The-Scenes Footage (unrestored HD; 10:45)
Teaser Trailer (unrestored HD; 0:31)
Theatrical Trailer (unrestored HD; 2:08)
Scream Factory has done a good job with this Bones release. It gets a new transfer and a host of extras features that should keep you busy for a couple hours.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Solid slasher haunt/slasher film with a great theme
About an hour of new extras plus all previous ones