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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Review: The Bone Box

Director: Luke Genton
Screenplay: Luke Genton
Year: 2020

Desecrating tombs to steal valuable items from the dead is an act known since far back in the history of humanity. It is also recognized by several cultures that desecrating tombs has consequences beyond the earthly ones and that this act can unleash the wrath of the dead which have been disrespected.

Tom’s life has gone south since the death of his wife. His questionable actions had led him to generate a $20,000 gambling debt for which his creditor is tired of waiting and gives him an ultimatum. Tome along his friend Elodie develop a plan to rob tombs of rich dead to sell the item they can get from them and pay his debt that way.

Tom is successful in putting his plan in motion and recollecting some valuable items from tombs without being detected, but this also puts in motion several situations around him. One is that he has awakened the attention of local authority figures, who now patrol the areas close to the graveyard looking for the author of the crime. The other situation is that Tom starts to see ghosts around him, who seem to be associated with the items he stole, which raises the question of if these are ghosts looking for revenge or if it's Tom’s conscience making him feel guilty for what he did.

In his first effort as a director and screenwriter, Luke Genton assumes a particular style to tell his story. For this, he bets on calmness and a slow-burn development of his plot accompanied by an unnerving musical composition. While most modern ghost movies adopt a style with frequent jump scares and loud noises, Genton makes the most out the subtlety in which he presents the events that develop around Tom to create an uncomfortable atmosphere mainly because of how different it is and the expectations that it generates than for what it really presents.

However, this slow development style makes the first half of the movie to be slow and requires patience from the viewer. Some disturbing scenes are an indication of the potential this movie has, but even those might not be enough to capture the attention of the viewer who expects a conventional ghost story. This also means long dialogue scenes, which exposes the great talent of its cast composed of Gareth Koorzen (“The One You Feed”), Michelle Krusiec (“The Invitation”), and Maria Olsen (“I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu” “Ghost In The Graveyard”; “The Convent”), but at the same times requires that the viewer gets interested for the finer details of the story.

The plot spins around the ghosts that only Tom is able to see, and it plays with the idea of if it’s his conscience causing the visions or if the ghosts are real. This might sound like a good idea on paper, but since early in the movie what’s really going on is evident, diffusing any element of doubt or surprise that Genton bets on.

“The Bone Box” is a ghost movie that prefers the slow and unnerving style of classic ghost movies instead of the constant jump scare style of more modern ghost movies. Its slow development requires patience from the viewer, but the early accidental revelation of what is really going doesn’t make for a great reward. Still, “The Bone Box” has a good story and disturbing visuals that help to get the viewer’s attention, especially those who enjoy slow-burn movies.

“The Bone Box” is distributed by Terror Films and is available on digital platforms.

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