Bones (2001 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ernest Dickerson|
|Produced by||Rupert Harvey|
|Written by||Adam Simon|
Michael T. Weiss
|Music by||Elia Cmiral|
|Edited by||Michael N. Knue|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|October 26, 2001|
Bones is a 2001 American horror film directed by Ernest Dickerson and starring rapper Snoop Dogg as the eponymous Jimmy Bones, a good-hearted, murdered gangster that rises from the grave to avenge his death. The film is an homage to blaxploitation films of the 1970s and incorporates numerous elements from the genre.
It initially met with negative reviews and a dismal box-office performance, but has since been reappraised as a cult classic, especially for Snoop Dogg and Pam Grier's performances and Dickerson's direction.
In 1979, Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg) is a numbers runner who is loved in his neighborhood as its respected member and protector. He is betrayed and brutally murdered by corrupt cop Lupovich (Michael T. Weiss) and drug pusher Eddie Mack (Ricky Harris) who then force Jimmy's associates Jeremiah (Clifton Powell) and Shotgun (Ronald Selmour) as well as his lover Pearl (Pam Grier) to take turns stabbing him to death. Afterward, Bones' elegant brownstone building becomes his own tomb and is closed.
The timeline flashes forward to 2001, where the neighborhood has become rundown and Jimmy's brownstone building is a condemned ruin. Four teens, Patrick (Khalil Kain), his brother Bill (Merwin Mondesir), their white step-sister Tia (Katharine Isabelle) and their best friend Maurice (Sean Amsing), buy the property and they want to renovate it as a nightclub. In the process, Tia finds a black dog who is actually the spiritual manifestation of Jimmy's tortured spirit. As the dog starts to eat, Jimmy is slowly resurrected.
Patrick meets Pearl and her daughter Cynthia (Bianca Lawson). Patrick develops a romance with Cynthia. Patrick wanted to open a nightclub at the old rundown neighborhood in hopes of making the neighborhood great again, and also to make a profit. While exploring the basement, Patrick, Cynthia, Bill, Tia, and Maurice find Jimmy Bones' body and they realize that he was actually murdered. Patrick, Cynthia, Bill, Tia, and Maurice decide to keep Jimmy's murder quiet or they won't be able to open the nightclub and they bury the remains.
Later Jeremiah, who is Patrick and Bill's father as well as Tia's stepfather, finds out about Patrick and the gang's plan to open the club at Bones' old building. He freaks out and demands that Patrick and the others leave the building. Patrick, Bill, and Tia refuse his request and open the nightclub, in spite of their father's objections. On opening night Maurice is lured into an upstairs room where he is mauled to death by the spiritual black dog.
Once he is fully resurrected, Jimmy sets the club on fire and is intent on getting revenge on those responsible for his death, those who betrayed him, and anyone who gets in his way. Pearl's neighbor Shotgun tells her how they should have burned the building down a long time ago. After the incident, Pearl admits to Cynthia that Jimmy Bones is her father, as she had a relationship with him.
Jimmy first confronts Shotgun and kills him as a way to release him of the troubled guilt he tried to maintain by becoming an alcoholic. Patrick confronts his father Jeremiah and demands to know if he helped murder Jimmy Bones twenty-two years earlier. His father admits he betrayed Jimmy Bones to make money to leave the neighborhood. Also, he got fed up living in Bones' shadow and he wanted to be as popular and successful as him.
Jeremiah allowed drugs into the neighborhood as long he got paid for it. Later, Eddie Mack is having sex with his white girlfriend Snowflake (Erin Wright). With Mack being one of the people who betrayed him, Jimmy confronts him after murdering Snowflake and stuffing her body in a trash bin. Jimmy decapitates Mack and does the same to Lupovich, but keeps their heads alive to transport their souls.
Pearl, knowing that Jeremiah is next, goes with Cynthia to his house to rescue him. They end up being too late. Pearl, Cynthia, Patrick, Bill, Tia and Jeremiah's wife Nancy (Lynda Boyd) watch him get dragged off by Jimmy, leaving nothing but a melted hole in the window. Jimmy brings Jeremiah back to the building, along with the heads of Lupovich and Mack. Jimmy sends Lupovich and Mack to hell for all eternity while Jeremiah begs for his life.
Patrick, Cynthia, Bill, and Pearl go underground to find that Jimmy Bones' body has disappeared. Pearl tells them that in order to put Jimmy to rest, they have to destroy the dress she wore the night Jimmy was murdered which was buried alongside him, as his blood which splattered onto it still contains his spirit and is the only thing keeping him anchored to the world of the living. As they look for Jimmy, Pearl steps in the elevator which closes and goes up. Meanwhile, Jeremiah asks Jimmy what he wants. He asks Jeremiah if he could give him his life back. When Jeremiah says he can't do that, Jimmy sends him to hell for eternity.
Pearl gets off the elevator and walks into a room that is filled with ignited candles. She has a flashback and Jimmy appears and puts the bloody dress on her. Patrick, Cynthia, and Bill head to the second floor where they see a ghostly Maurice, who leads Bill in the wrong direction where he is captured and killed. Patrick tries to reach him but is too late. Patrick and Cynthia make their way to the room where Pearl and Jimmy are at. Patrick knows it's a trap.
As Cynthia is lured to Pearl and Jimmy, Patrick hears his father's voice in a mirror begging for help. When Patrick hesitates, Jeremiah chokes him. Patrick uses his knife to chop Jeremiah's arm off and he disappears into hell. Patrick goes after Jimmy, who disappears and reappears behind Patrick's back much more demonic-looking. He grabs Patrick by his throat, as Cynthia begs him to let go. Pearl, realizing what is happening, tells Jimmy she loves him before grabbing a candle and setting fire to the dress while still wearing it.
As Jimmy and Pearl both die together, Patrick and Cynthia make their escape, barely making it out before the entire building collapses. Before jumping to safety, Cynthia is briefly pulled back into the building by an unseen force. Outside, Patrick finds an old picture of Jimmy and Pearl as Jimmy's face turns to him and says "Dog eat dog, boy." Too late, Patrick realizes that Cynthia has Jimmy's blood within her, and turns around as Cynthia, now possessed by Jimmy smiles at him and, vomits a mouthful of maggots into his face.
- Snoop Dogg as Jimmy Bones
- Pam Grier as Pearl
- Michael T. Weiss as Lupovich
- Clifton Powell as Jeremiah Peet
- Ricky Harris as Eddie Mack
- Bianca Lawson as Cynthia
- Khalil Kain as Patrick Peet
- Merwin Mondesir as Bill Peet
- Sean Amsing as Maurice
- Katharine Isabelle as Tia Peet
- Ronald Selmour as Shotgun
- Deezer D as Stank
- Garikayi Mutambirwa as Weaze
- Erin Wright as Snowflake
- Josh Byer as Jason
- Kirby Morrow as Palmer
- Ellen Stephenovna Ewusie as The Death Lady
- Lynda Boyd as Nancy Peet
- Primo the dog as Bones the dog
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The soundtrack to the film was released on October 9, 2001 on Doggystyle Records and Priority Records. It peaked at #39 on the Billboard 200, #14 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #4 on the Top Soundtracks chart.
Bones received generally negative reviews and has a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 69 reviews with an average rating of 3.83 out of 10 with the consensus "Slow to start, the sleek looking Bones is more silly than scary. The film also has a score of 42 on Metacritic based on 21 reviews. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.
Spence D. of IGN commended Dickerson's direction and Snoop's performance but felt the film overall cribbed too heavily from A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Omen and the Amityville Horror films for a script that fails at social commentary and tonal consistency, concluding that "Injecting humor into a horror picture is one thing, but when the horror and the comedy become indistinguishable that's when you know you're in trouble." Mike Clark of USA Today felt that Dickerson's talents were wasted in directing this "wannabe chiller" and was only brought in to fulfill a studio mandate for Halloween, concluding that, "[I]f grossness gives you the giggles, at least a couple of the movie's effects indeed put a little "wow" in this cinematic bowwow." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle criticized the film for being "ill conceived" with its plot structure and not focusing more on Snoop's character and his revenge tale.
Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman gave the movie a "B" grade, saying it "may be pure trash, but it's trash made with the kind of oozy psychedelic zest" found in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Stephen Holden of The New York Times praised Snoop's portrayal of the title character, saying he's "ultimately scarier than most conventional Hollywood monsters", and Dickerson for infusing the film with "a special glee and an unusual density of scary imagery."
Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine noted how the film's cinematography and horror images borrowed elements from Dario Argento's Suspiria, concluding that "[T]he film's decapitated-head-aplenty finale is ludicrously overwrought, but who cares when a socially conscious horror flick gives death such a fabulous mac daddy face?" The Austin Chronicle's Marc Savlov gave praise to Snoop as the titular character for showcasing his potential as an actor and Dickerson for utilizing horror tropes to great effect, saying "If you can put aside your love of logic and sense and just go with the spookshow flow of Dickerson's funky little flick, you'll love it."
The film opened at number 10 at the U.S. box office, earning $2,823,548 in 847 theaters its opening weekend averaging $3,333 per theater. It ended up earning $7,316,658 domestically and $1,062,195 internationally for a total of $8,378,853, falling short of its $16 million budget.
- "Bones". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
- Jenkins, Jason (March 24, 2020). "Scream Factory's 'Bones' Blu-ray Is the Perfect Way to Discover Ernest Dickerson's 2001 Gem [Review]". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
- "Bones (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
- "Bones". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
- "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
- Spence D. (October 24, 2001). "Review of Bones". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
- Clark, Mike (October 23, 2001). "'Bones' is all bark, no bite". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
- LaSalle, Mick (October 25, 2001). "Snoop Dogg's 'Bones' falls apart". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
- Gleiberman, Owen (November 2, 2001). "Bones". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
- Holden, Stephen (October 24, 2001). "Film Review - A New Disco Has a Twisted Past and Presented". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
- Gonzalez, Ed (October 24, 2001). "Review: Bones". Slant Magazine. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
- Savlov, Marc (October 26, 2001). "Bones - Movie Review". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved March 31, 2020.