Independent gore auteur Todd Sheets’ latest is a step back from the epic, sweeping madness of his last film, Dreaming Purple Neon. Whereas that film featured multiple locales, a descent into the underworld, and overlapping tales of characters affected by the titular drug, Bonehill Road sees the writer-director pulling back into something more intimate. Aside from a few brief scenes to set the stage at the film’s outset, the majority of this abduction-cum-werewolf movie takes place in a car and a remote Missouri farmhouse.
All that being said, however, this is a Todd Sheets movie, and with that comes many quarts of blood, accompanying gruesome depictions of onscreen violence. That’s what viewers come to Sheets’ direct-to-video films to see, and that’s what he delivers. It’s helped by Joe Castro’s makeup effects, especially the werewolves, which get a solid amount of high-profile screentime. They’re not especially expressive, but they’re scary as anything, and very reminiscent of the giant, monstrous rabbit from Twilight Zone: The Movie - like a cartoon come to life.
The acting is competent, with Eli DeGeer and Ana Rojas-Plumberg as respective mother and daughter pair Emily and Eden Stevens getting the most screen time, alongside Douglas Epps’ scenery-chewing Coen Anders and a cameo appearance from genre veteran Linnea Quigley as Suzy, one of Anders’ captives. They scream and run well, and DeGeer gets a nice chance to show off some of her chops in a post-credits scene.
The downside is that Bonehill Road suffers from some major padding to reach its 87-minute runtime. The opening credits run four minutes, there’s a three minute "flashback" montage at the end, and the closing credits are about five, meaning a solid tenth of the film isn’t really movie at all. It’s pretty fine for being so lean, but it’s definitely a case of getting to the bloody meat of the film and watching some chopping and gnawing, rather than exploring anything in any detail.
BONEHILL ROAD / CERT: UNRATED / DIRECTOR: TODD SHEETS / SCREENPLAY: TODD SHEETS / STARRING: LINNEA QUIGLEY, DILYNN FAWN HARVEY, GARY KENT, ELI DeGEER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW