A man, desperate for money robs some graves then begins to think those he robbed are after him…
Occasionally a film comes along that genuinely surprises you in some ways. The Bone Box is one of them. It’s not the most original film and despite the efforts of those involved, can’t hide its low budget, yet in many ways I was very taken with it.
The debut film of writer and director, Luke Genton, The Bone Box has a good central story at its heart. Benji is down on his luck and desperately needs money and comes up with the idea to rob graves. However afterwards he starts to see a dark figure on a painting, one that seems to move closer to the house each time he looks at it. He also begins to hear and see things in the house, things no-one else can. Add to this, the dreams he has of his wife dying and a bookie that wants his money, there’s enough of each aspect for the story to work, without ever feeling forced at all.
Benji lives with his Aunt, in her house, which makes him feel more guilty as one of those he robbed as has Uncle. The relationship between them is well thought out too.
But a ghost story, for me at least, lives and dies on if it is scary. And while you can see the mechanics of the scares in place, it does have some good unsettling moments, along with a couple of good jump scares too.
Luke Genton, as director, I think has been influenced by the Insidious films, with long takes of the camera following Benji and the way some scares work. To be clear, not a criticism as I am a fan of those too.
Where I feel the film suffers, is in part due to its budget. The climax of the film has a moment where you feel the director wanted to show something, as he’d written it, but didn’t have the budget to pull it off.
There are a few minor issues too.The idea with the painting was good, but I don’t recall seeing the painting before the figure it is pointed out. Personally a shot of it might have made that aspect creepier. Also, I think the very end wasn’t needed, the film could have ended slightly earlier, which would I feel have worked better.
The performances from the main cast, Aaron Schwartz (Benji), Michelle Krusiec (Elodie) and Maria Olsen (the Aunt) are not bad, while the others, Jamie Bernadette, David Chokachi (as cops), Gareth Goorzen and Tess Bellomo aren’t too bad either.
As I said, a few minor issues aside, I enjoyed The Bone Box. It’s a creepy little film, that told an interesting story and while it might not have stuck the landing fully, I did enjoy the journey.
It’s a box worth opening.
Rating *** out of 5