As a rule, I certainly have no problem with Joe and Jane Shoestring Filmmaker and the low-low-low budget schlock they love to turn out. However... Problems often arise when I'm required to sit through a 104-minute zombie movie that looks like it was shot inside of a shoebox, sounds like it was recorded inside of a seashell, and moves forward with all the momentum of a 60-year-old garden slug.
I reiterate: I've got nothing against no-budget Massachusetts-based filmmaker Brian Paulin (Mummy Raider) and his enthusiastic neighborhood of gore-lovin' blouse-droppers ... but Bone Sickness is a special kind of amateur-hour awful. (OK, some of the gore is pretty creative, I'll give the guy that.)
Here's what I think the plot is: There's this young guy who's dying of a horrifically degenerative bone disease, and all his doting girlfriend can do is watch him waste away. Fortunately, one of their buddies works at the local morgue, and he provides the dying stooge with a medicine made up of ... corpse parts. It's never made entirely clear how "corpse parts" will cure the guy's bone disease, but we're talking about a movie in which one character leans over and expels a massive deluge of earthworm-based diarrhea -- so let's not dig too deeply into the screenplay.
So while Bone Dude continues wasting away, a bunch of undead corpses climb out of the ground and begin tearing people in half. (They do it at least three times, as if to say the "Bishop Rip" from Aliens is the end-all be-all ultimate in practical effects work. And even though most of the copious goreworks are presented with gristle and gusto and glee -- none of it looks even remotely convincing. Points for style and enthusiasm, but demerits for poor lighting, point-and-shoot direction, and the lack of a more ruthless editor. And I won't even bother with the acting...
Bone Sickness looks like something you let your neighbor's kids shoot in your backyard -- because despite their obsession with sloppy gore effects, they're pretty nice kids. A clear and obvious affection for the Zombie Genre runs throughout much of Bone Sickness, but the thing's simply too damn long, too damn silly, and too damn tough to see. Genre fans will appreciate the naked hooters and the frequent gore-geysers, but you'll have to lean pretty heavily on the FF button if you want to get through the whole thing.
Video: Fullframe and entirely fuzzy. The overlit scenes are watchable enough, but the darker moments are pretty dingy.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0, which fluctuates between inaudible and mega-loud, depending on how close the actors are to the microphones.
There's an audio commentary with writer/director Brian Paulin and actor/producer Rich George. The Boston-voiced boys ramble through their flick amiably, if not all that compellingly, while focusing on the (very) long production and the (very) frequent zombie antics. Plus, you simply haven't lived until you've heard an actor/producer complain about how "the worms kept pooping in my mouth."
Also included are a 31-minute Behind the Scenes featurette (which features set construction, scorpion wrangling, and zombie-making), three minutes of Scenes That Hurt (stuntwork footage), six minutes of Outtakes, a 16-minute interview between Paulin and The Horror Channel's "Uncle Creepy," 13 minutes of Having Fun on the Set footage, a photo gallery, and some trailers for Bone Sickness, Frankenhooker, City of Rott, Ichi-1, Nails, Visions of Suffering, and Das Komabrutale Duell.
Or hey, maybe I'm just out of touch where these no-budget DIY horror flicks are concerned. (Although I doubt it.) To be fair, Bone Sickness has earned some rather enthusiastic raves on a couple of the genre sites, so definitely do some more research before purchasing (or dismissing) this one.
Hardcore (and charitable) zombie freaks can probably give it a rental, but I certainly wouldn't break it out on Movie Night.