Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



 Directed by Luca Guadagnino.
Starring Taylor Russell, Timothee Chalamet, Mark Rylance.
Horror, US, 132 minutes, certificate 18.


Released in cinemas in the UK  23rd November by Warner Bros.


After dipping his toes into horror with the perhaps foolhardy task of his underrated SUSPIRIA remake (I liked it, there are dozens of us!), Luca Guadagnino reunites with screenwriter David Kajganich and previous collaborator Timothee Chalamet for this tale of young cannibals in love. For horror fans who were disappointed with his re-imagining of Dario Argento’s classic and for fans of his more romantic works who were taken aback by the limb bending gore, BONES AND ALL settles in perfectly between the two camps, although a strong stomach is still required for the latter crowd.


Set during the mid-80’s, the film tells the story of Maren, a teenage girl living with her father and newly moved into a small town. It becomes obvious that Maren has a secret that causes her father to lock her in at night. Her uncontrollable appetite for human flesh soon drives her father away, leaving her to fend for herself and embark on a journey across the country to discover the secrets of her bloodthirsty nature. Discovering that there are others who share her craving, calling themselves Eaters, she soon enters into a tentative relationship with Lee, a fellow nomad who soon begins to show her the survival skills needed to survive under the radar as they both struggle to weigh their consciences against their uncontrollable hunger.


Based on the novel by Camille DeAngelis, this feels at times like an American counterpart to Julia Ducournau’s RAW. Both films involving a teenager’s voyage into adulthood through the consumption of human flesh. Where that film felt like a transgressive and confrontational take on the coming-of-age film, BONES AND ALL is an altogether more tender affair. Maybe using the word tender there could be seen as a poor pun for a film involving cannibalism but it somehow suits the subject matter here with the relationship at the heart of the film and Taylor Russell’s impressively sympathetic performance. In only her second film she completely holds her own alongside a cast of familiar faces especially Mark Rylance as the unnerving Sully, a fellow Eater with an unnerving interest in her well-being. As creepy as that acclaimed actor is in his nicely realised role, David Gordon Green (director of the Halloween reboot trilogy) makes even more of an unsettling impression in his role of a beer swigging cannibal alongside a grimy Michael Stuhlbarg.


Chalamet again makes the case for being one of his generations most interesting actors. To make the character of a flesh-eating murderer likable and even recognisable with his traits of loyalty and concealed guilt of his nature and family history is impressive work, especially in his naturalistic, low-key style that perfectly complements Russell’s excellent performance. Their relationship unfolding against a backdrop of highways and vast prairie fields is at times reminiscent of the vampiric couple at the heart of Kathryn Bigelow’s NEAR DARK as they clean the blood off each other under the illumination of electric pylons in the deserted corners of small towns where their predatory natures lead them down ever more dangerous roads.


It will be interesting to see if Guadagnino’s excellent direction, culminating in one of the year’s most emotional scenes in horror cinema will win back the audience who were so taken with CALL ME BY YOUR NAME and then mystified by SUSPIRIA. However, it seems that the horror crowd could embrace him more fully here with this excellently realised and wholly original take of lovers on the run that never shies away from its dark and bloody aspects and making them as romantic and emotional in its own recognisable fashion.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans