Bones

on October 26, 2001 by Michael Tunison
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The rare sort of studio genre flick that can't even seem to get its basic formula straight, director Ernest Dickerson's supernatural horror-fest "Bones" fails so completely to generate suspense, shock, dramatic momentum or anything else that a kind-hearted viewer may end up rooting for it out of sympathy as it slowly digs its own grave.

A downright bizarre blend of ideas appropriated from haunted house, undead stalker and teen slasher stories past, this bone-headed spin on "The Crow" concerns a legendary figure named Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg) who acted as his beloved inner-city neighborhood's Robin Hood-style protector until he was murdered by a conspiracy of drug-trafficking bad guys in 1979. More than two decades later, two young would-be entrepreneurs (Khalil Kain from Dickerson's "Juice" and Merwin Mondesir from TV's "Straight Up") come up with the brilliant idea of turning the decrepit, vermin-ridden house where Jimmy died into an after-hours nightclub. Naturally they awaken Jimmy's unhappy spirit, setting off a chain of events that can only result in an R-rated bloodbath.

While rap star Snoop Dogg carves out isolated moments of dignity for himself with his coolly charming take on the title character, fans will be disappointed to learn he makes only a few brief appearances before taking center stage in the truly horrific last half hour. Painfully slow to set up what will obviously be its central situation, most of the film follows the hopelessly contrived misadventures of the young people as they ignore every foreboding warning imaginable and set up house in the danger-filled former Bones abode. When Jimmy's vengeful rampage begins at last, director Dickerson and company fail to establish any sort of internal logic for his supernatural powers or the fantastical events that end the film. No one escapes the hackneyed storytelling unscathed, including the sadly misused Pam Grier as Jimmy's psychic onetime girlfriend. Starring Snoop Dogg, Pam Grier, Khalil Kain, Merwin Mondesir, Ricky Harris, Clifton Powell, Bianca Lawson, Sean Amsing and Michael T. Weiss. Directed by Ernest Dickerson. Written by Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe. Produced by Lloyd Segan, Peter Heller and Rupert Harvey. A New Line release. Horror. Rated R for violence/gore, language, sexuality and drugs. Running time: 96 min

Tags: horror, rap, Snoop Dogg, Pam Grier, Clifton Powell, Khalil Kain, Michael T. Weiss, Ernest Dickerson, slasher, adaptation
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