Canadian indie horror film Boneyard blends supernatural elements with slasher fare, resulting in an intriguing effort that goes to unexpected places in its third act. Directors Brent Nurse and Steven Spencer have crafted an engaging shocker that is certain to take fear-fare fans by surprise.
University professor David Morrison (Jason Bowen) is under intense public scrutiny; his student Diane Findlay (Sue Del-Mei) has accused him of viciously attacking her. He and his wife Jane (Helen von Bretzke) decide to stay at his secluded childhood farmhouse while his attorney thinks things through. Jane takes a walk on the property and stumbles across an area locally known as The Boneyard, an ancient graveyard decorated with animal skulls and bones. It is rumoured by local youth to be an area used for evil rituals.
The couple starts being harassed by locals; Officer Tony Jones (Steve van Volkingburgh) reassures them that they have nothing to worry about. Matters escalate, and Jane begins seeing ever more frightening visions in and around her home.
Working from a screenplay by Spencer, the directors have put together a smart, tense horror thriller that is well paced, and that should keep most viewers guessing as to what might happen next. Nurse and Spencer infuse Boneyard with a chilling sense of dread that rarely lets up. The attic in David’s childhood home becomes even eerier than The Boneyard at times.
That attic is home to some truly creepy supernatural entities. Nurse and Spencer did the special effects work with Alex Hanes, and the trio concocted some imagery that is sure to stay with viewers long after the end credits roll. The true-to-life horrors of people hurting each other in Boneyard are as effective as the supernatural elements; the filmmakers leave some of these violent acts just out of shot, which doesn’t lessen the emotional impact.
The cast is solid, with von Bretzke standing out as the confused, terrified Jane. Von Bretzke’s facial expressions as her character doubts both what she might be seeing and what her husband tells her are terrific. Bowen is also impressive as David, a man who maintains his innocence and tries to maintain trust with his wife.
Boneyard balances its slasher and supernatural elements well, and the third act adds a new factor that takes film to a different level. Nurse and Spencer show a great deal of originality, and have made a captivating fright film that deserves to find a wide audience.
By Joseph W. Perry (@JosephWPerryJWP)