Oh werewolf genre, how we miss your gory glory days of old. Classic lycanthropic flicks like An American Werewolf in London, The Howling and Bad Moon, all had one major thing in common; sweet, sweet practical effects! We're talking kick ass, man-in-suit werewolves running amok and tearing the local population limb from limb. Those were the days...
It was back in 2017 that I first heard of micro-budget maestro Todd Sheet's new werewolf film Bonehill Road, a film that promised to revive the beloved subgenre with glorious practical werewolves and absolutely no CGI. Yeah, you bet I was excited! Fast forward to present day, I've finally had the opportunity to check the film out and I'm delighted to say it does not disappoint!
Bonehill Road tells the story of mother/daughter duo Emily (Eli DeGeer) and Eden (Ana Rojas-Plumberg), who have had enough of the abusive man of the house and decide to hit the road for Emily's father's house. An in your face start to the film that quickly develops a sense of sympathy for out lead heroines. Their situation goes from bad to worse as they nearly run down a suspected "bear" in their sedan (how they suspected a 7-foot tall bipedal beast was a bear is beyond me). Since the said werewolf isn't too happy about nearly becoming road kill, he rounds up his furry gang and proceeds to attack Emily and Eden, but the two barely escape and end up taking refuge in a nearby home...that just so happens to be occupied by Coen (Douglas Epps), a murderous psychopath. These poor ladies just can't catch a break! Cannibalistic killer inside, a posse of werewolves at the door, maybe Emily and Eden should've stayed home...
I'll get straight to the point here, I absolutely loved my time with Bonehill Road! It's skillfully acted, well paced and has its fair share of chills. Writer/director Todd Sheets makes the most of the film's low budget and stays focused on keeping tension and storytelling tight. The small cast was outstanding for a film of this type, with DeGeer and Plumberg both delivering believable mother/daughter performances and Douglas Epps stealing the spotlight with his enactment of a psychotic cannibal who just wants to have some friends for dinner. There's also a much appreciated cameo appearance by legendary scream queen, Linnea Quigley.
I don't even know where to begin when it comes to the special effects! Sheets and his team deserve the utmost praise for creating terrifyingly gorgeous creatures and gross-out gore effects. Multiple, phenomenal looking werewolves were created, gore is realistic and frequent, and there's even a rather impressive transformation scene towards the end of the film! Considering the meager budget, Bonehill Road succeeds in so many incredible ways. Major props to everyone involved!
I only have one complaint, the film clocks in at about an hour and fifteen minutes. It should've been longer dammit! I wanted more!
Being that I can count my favorite "recent" werewolf films on one hand, Dog Soldiers, Ginger Snaps, Late Phases and the very underrated Howl, it's so nice to add that fifth finger. If you're like me and cherish great werewolf flicks, Bonehill Road won't let you down. In a subgenre which constantly tries and fails miserably, it's a much needed breath of fresh air. I truly believe that if Bonehill was released in the '80s it would be mentioned in conversations with the shape-shifting classics I mentioned at the beginning of this review.
Gory, gruesome and totally old school, Bonehill Road is a must-see fright flick for those looking for a howling good time! Question is, when's Bonehill Road 2 coming out?