A film crew and their psychic tag along enter an abandoned home to investigate rumors of its murderous past for the next episode of Sinister Sites, a reality show in the vein of Ghost Hunters. After filming numerous episodes that never revealed anything supernatural, what will happen to them when they encounter the real deal?
”Take a good, long look because every breath I take in this death cage Petri dish of scurvy could be my last.”
Directed by Jeffery Lando
Written by Anthony C. Ferrante, Jay Frasco
Starring: Charisma Carpenter, Marcus Lyle Brown, Ricky Wayne
Watching House of Bones reminded me of a whole slew of other haunted house movies over the years, never quite delving into anything new, but rather recycling gags that were effective years ago. There’s the paranormal researcher gag from ‘Poltergeist’. There’s the regurgitation of hair from ‘The Ring’. There’s the maggots in the food from ‘Ghost Ship’. There’s the lured to your doom by a beautiful ghost woman also from ‘Ghost Ship’. The beginning even steals from ‘The Sandlot’, depicting a young boy who has stolen his Dad’s baseball autographed by the Great Bambino himself, Babe Ruth. Not a haunted house film by any means, but it’s in there.
This movie is a SyFy Channel offering and is what it is: a made-for-tv movie. You can even see the fade to black moments that indicate that a commercial is coming up. The special effects aren’t bad at all for this kind of production. They certainly aren’t Weta Workshop, but for what it’s supposed to accomplish it works. It’s also surprisingly violent and gory in parts. Again, not as gruesome as ‘Midnight Meat Train’ or ‘Train’, but for television it has some over the top moments.
The acting, too, is what you’d expect. There will be no Emmy’s awarded here, but no one specifically stands out as not deserving to be there. Charisma Carpenter (most recently in ‘The Expendables’ but has a long history of TV appearances from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel’ dating back to ‘Baywatch’) is most likely the weakest link in the cast as she’s just kind of there, not exactly showing any kind of range. I think the best performance was by Marcus Lyle Brown, also a veteran television actor, who has made some feature film appearances as well. His performance was easily the most convincing. Collin Galyean could develop into something special. He has a Jason Lee kind of charm about him.
The thing about SyFy Channel movies for me is that I think they should be at least as good in visual quality as the SyFy commercials. The last one I reviewed wasn’t at all. House of Bones was better, but still didn’t blow the doors off me. It appears that have I have yet another SyFy channel offering in my queue that I’m actually looking forward to. In fact, I‘m saving it for last. It’s going to be ridiculous. It’s going to be cheesy. Most likely it will be poorly written and shamelessly performed. And I expect to enjoy every minute of it. House of Bones wasn’t ridiculous, it was just recycled. It wasn’t cheesy, it was just uninspired. It wasn’t poorly written or shamelessly performed; it was just something to have on while you’re doing homework or laundry or something, something where background noise and the occasional almost shocking image will allow you to focus on your task without becoming distracted. It’s a challenge to get excited about a SyFy channel movie, and a product like House of Bones is why.