08th Oct2011

‘House of Bones’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Charisma Carpenter, Marcus Lyle Brown, Ricky Wayne, Kyle Clements, Collin Galyean, Corin Nemec | Written by Anthony C. Ferrante, Jay Frasco | Directed by Jeffery Lando

House-of-Bones-cast

This horror yarn (headlined by Corin Nemec and Charisma Carpenter) takes you on the journey with a group of reality television ghost hunters as they get trapped in a haunted plantation home. Their initial attempt for creating an entertaining reality show soon becomes a lot darker than anticipated. Through their attempt to uncover the many secrets in this haunted house, they become convinced that they are not only in the presence of the dead but surrounded by evil, supernatural activity. As fleeting spirits are spotted, fear becomes apparent. Crew members start going missing, objects around are disappearing and the house itself feels alive. It seems the crew’s only hope of survival is to unlock the mysteries of the plantation’s dark past…

Yet another entry into the long line of films that take their cues from reality television, House of Bones follows the investigators of “Sinister Sites” a cheesy ghost-hunting show that is losing viewers by the day thanks to its clueless host and a lack of ghosts in the show. In an effort to boost the ratings the producers insist that the Sites team shoot an episode at a rumoured haunted house but the team get more than they bargained for when the house turns out to really be haunted and won’t let them leave.

Made for the Syfy channel, House of Bones is a bargain basement affair with a low-rent script, low-rent special effects and a cast that muddle their way through what feels like a “best of” collection of supernatural occurrences: with insects, hallucinations, apparitions, possession, ghostly noises and voices coming out of the teams equipment. Plus as a bonus we get people sucked into walls and floors, a bending of space and time (either that or the guy in charge of continuity was fired), and the odd Poltergeist knock off too – including a “Maggots in the food” scene!

The only “names” in the cast – Charisma Carpenter and Corin Nemec – seem to be sleepwalking through their roles, offering only the minimum effort in their roles as psychic and TV host respectively. And whilst Carpenter, as the token psychic of the crew, at least seems to give to give a modicum of shit about her role (although its a long way from her starring role on Angel), Nemec seems to be mainlining his Parker Lewis character once again, with a role that seems more suited to a slapstick comedy than a horror movie – perhaps he realised what utter tosh House of Bones is and just had fun with it?

Whilst the first two thirds of House of Bones – despite the films inherent problems – are still somewhat watchable, come the final third and both plot and logic (what little there was) go out the window and the film goes totally off the rails with a series of interconnected scenes rather than a story. And the films final denouement is even more ridiculous… If one of the “Sinister Sites” crew is still alive and well and acting as caretaker for the possessed house how come no-one has asked him about his cast mates? Surely they have families that are missing them? Oh, and that lovely monster pictured on the cover of the retail DVD? That’s little more than a 3 second “cameo”… there are no monsters and, even worse, no scares in House of Bones.

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