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Case Number 08262

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Bonesetter Returns / Final Curtain

Final Curtain
2004 // 65 Minutes // Not Rated
Bonesetter Returns
2005 // 70 Minutes // Not Rated
Released by Tempe Video
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 23rd, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is definitely steering clear of Ottowa...now.

The Charge

He's back…to set things wrong!

Opening Statement

Warning: This film is not as erotic as it sounds.

Facts of the Case

• Bonesetter Returns
Back in the olden days, a child-murderer known only as The Bonesetter roamed the countryside, kidnapping children and killing them to death. A gaggle of angry farmers eventually gang-rushed the psycho to exact their revenge, but not before he worked a bit of magical mojo to ensure his reappearance, years later, in Canada. When he first tried to make a corporeal comeback through an elaborate child-sacrificing ritual, his plans were thwarted by some enterprising young people, led by Kyle Addison (writer/director Brett Kelly).

But just when Kyle and his pals think they can live their lives normally, strange happenings infest their town. Kids go missing again, and Kyle fears that his nemesis has returned from the dead once more. Now, aided by his wife, and intrepid supercop Jackman (Mark Courneyea), Kyle reluctantly once again goes head-to-head with The Bonesetter—only this time his unborn child's life is at stake.

• Final Curtain
The second helping on this double-feature, Final Curtain relates the bloodcurdling night of bloodcurdling curdled blood that awaits the cast of a new play, which is supposedly cursed.

Suddenly, a normal rehearsal becomes an endurance trial, as each actor is killed by an unknown assailant. And, with the theater doors locked and the windows apparently bulletproof, the survivors are left to sort out the mystery and determine the identity of the killer—before they die!!!

The Evidence

Writer/director/producer Brett Kelly is one hard-working Canuck. The guy churns out these flicks on an annual basis, though if Final Curtain—a film shot in five days—is indicative of the workload, he might actually be underachieving.

Kelly's stuff is usually the most manageable of Tempe releases I can endure. Yeah, it's micro-budget fare, amateurish performances and lazy camerawork abound, and the stories are never overtly involving, but, in its class, it's right up there. Kelly takes his work seriously—sometimes too seriously—and appears to have an authentic love for filmmaking. The final products often come up short, but I appreciate his commitment to the job.

Bonesetter Returns is about as blah as The Bonesetter, but, seriously, what does that mean? Not much. If you were one of the few souls who tracked down the original and got a kick out of it, chances are you won't hate the sequel. The film is short, clocking in at a shad north of one hour, and Kelly throws enough twists into the evil-from-the-grave routine to make the story his own.

There are plenty of laughable moments to be found, like some really corny special effects and a few glaring continuity problems (Courneyea's hairstyle changes from scene to scene, and his sideburns often make brief vanishing acts). The film is largely humorless, but I'll take that any day over a flick of similar zero-grade pedigree that thinks it's hilarious—and Tempe has let fly plenty of those. Overall, there's nothing here to sway horror fans in the least, though fans of the first will probably enjoy it.

Final Curtain is actually a slightly more entertaining film. It moves faster, with a leaner plot (bad guy kills people; people run), and the gags are a lot funnier, usually inadvertently so. My favorite: one hapless actress is decapitated by a stage light. Too bad most of the action happens in the dark, and the combination of hackneyed editing and poor video quality renders the onscreen mayhem opaque. The climactic reveal is pretty good, but it's the orgy of ridiculous visual effects that is most memorable; who knew sparks were so hard to replicate through computer imagery?

Both movies are accompanied by lively commentaries from Kelly and a few of the actors; luckily they don't take themselves, or the films, too seriously. In addition, Bonesetter Returns gets a still gallery and Final Curtain a featurette.

Unflattering full-frame, 2.0 stereo all the way for the tech specs.

Closing Statement

It's not great storytelling, but I've seen films with this low a budget that are much more torturous affairs. That being said, I'll never watch these movies again. Ever.

The Verdict

Ehhh…let's adjourn for lunch.

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• Horror

Scales of Justice, Final Curtain

Video: 75
Audio: 75
Extras: 80
Acting: 65
Story: 70
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile, Final Curtain

Studio: Tempe Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 65 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Final Curtain

• Cast and Crew Commentary
• Making-Of Featurette
• Trailers

Scales of Justice, Bonesetter Returns

Video: 75
Audio: 75
Extras: 75
Acting: 60
Story: 70
Judgment: 68

Perp Profile, Bonesetter Returns

Studio: Tempe Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 70 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Bonesetter Returns

• Cast and Crew Commentary
• Still Gallery
• Trailers

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