If you've ever watched the HGTV series Good Bones, you're at a good starting point for writer/director Scott Eggleston's feature debut Bad Bones, an indie thriller/horror currently available for viewing for free, that's right free, on Youtube and you'd best be watching for it via other streaming channels.
The film stars Chris Levine as Russ, a paranormal author who moves into a mysterious house with his terminally ill wife Jen (Maddison Bullock). Despite the fact that the previous owners just one day up and left and let the house go for a steal, Russ is convinced the house holds the healing secrets for his wife's mysterious illness.
The house, on the other hand, may have other things in mind.
Bad Bones is without a doubt a microcinema effort, a low-budget motion picture that relies more on psychological chills and thrills than it does actual special effects. Seth Neuffer's original score is tasked with some heavy lifting, though for the most part it's absolutely up to the task as it helps carry the rhythm of the film throughout its multiple transitions.
The film's earliest scenes, from Jen's eerie encounter with a neighbor eerily named Jenna to Russ's own creepy crawlspace experience, are meant to mostly tease us into realizing that nothing's quite normal in this scenario. Then, Eggleston takes his time going for anything resembling major revelations.
Bad Bones is a tour-de-force for Bullock, Jen's frailty making her transformation that much more impactful and Bullock seemingly has a blast taking Jen from pretty much under her husband's thumb to pretty much steering everything that goes on here. It's a fairly remarkable transformation and Bullock handles it beautifully.
Levine's Russ never feels quite right, hints of madness evoke memories of Jack Nicholson past while in a myriad of ways he seemingly switches places with his wife over the course of the film. Levine and Bullock together have quite the chemistry as they ride the cinematic wave of being a believable couple living on what appears to be a sort of supernatural edge. It's fun to watch and it's a terrific way to make this story unfold without the necessity of tons of special effects.
Jarrod Paul Beck's lensing is effective throughout, another essential ingredient in the film's success despite the challenges of working on a smaller budget. This is all creativity here for Beck and he genuinely pulls it off.
Bad Bones isn't likely to be the best indie thriller/horror you've ever seen, however, it's a genuinely effective film and a promising debut for Eggleston. You can catch it for yourself above this review as Youtube continues to grow its catalogue of original content in support of up-and-coming filmmakers.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic