The basis of this low budget film is the story of a real miscarriage of justice that took place in the racist Deep South in 1913. Two black farmers were framed and executed for the murder of an aged Confederate veteran and the rape of his wife. Here, director Andre Alfa and writer Stephen George go beyond the eventual pardon the pair got and bring them back to get their bloody revenge on the ancestors of those who tried them.
Lyndsy (Ashley Whelan) has received a message informing her that she is the only heir to a part of a property in the town of Blackstock, South Carolina. This just happens to be the same land that was stolen from the farmers who were conveniently killed by the state. The other part owners are the town Judge (Terry Milam) and lawyer (Jonathan Fuller). They want to strike it rich by selling the property, but need Lyndsy’s signature on the deed.
While Lyndsy and her accompanying friends are in the town, they are constantly being made to feel uncomfortable; sometimes by the strange locals and often by the ingrained racism. The Judge and his family don’t take likely to Lyndsy befriending a black lad, Jesse (Aspen Kennedy Wilson). Add to that there was almost a lynching the night they arrive and you get the message that this is not a town you’d want to settle down in. However, on the night the deeds are signed, something is stirring in the gaveyard…
Blending elements of The Fog and the retribution of Candyman, Blackstock Boneyard has enough going for it to be an entertaining revenge-from-the-grave thriller. The film’s lower budget doesn’t do it any favours when it comes to the blood-spattered CGI (although there’s a fun through-the-body shot that almost makes up for it with its audacity). If you can overlook that, there’s plenty of atmosphere and the nastiness of the characters will have you rooting for them to be on the death list.
The filmmakers make their point about the racial injustice that inspired the story well, and it’s clear who’s in the wrong throughout. The scenes of hate crimes and racism are difficult to watch, as they should be but handled without going for shock value.
The major failing here is the story is a little too rushed to be convincing (particularly the burgeoning relationship between Lyndsy and Jesse), but that’s a small problem since the film doesn’t outstay its welcome at less than ninety minutes. Blackstock Boneyard will be a treat for fans of low budget indie cinema.
Blackstock Boneyard is available now in the US on DVD and On Demand.