Ian Stone (Mike Vogel) feels like something is going wrong in his life. The clock stops during the hockey game after he tries to score the winning goal and he confesses to his girlfriend Jenny (Christina Cole) that he is losing his mind. Then on his way home he sees a body on a train track and when he tries to help the body comes to life and holds him until a train runs over him. Suddenly Ian wakes up and he's in an office late with an assignment. His co-worker Jenny wonders what's wrong with him. He then goes home to a different girlfriend Media (Jaime Murray) who ends up stabbing him through his stomach and watching him bleed. Ian wakes up again this time in a taxi and he's driving Jenny to her house. Over and over Ian experiences a different life and a different ghastly death with Jenny the only connecting factor. Ian slowly begins to piece together that he's being chased and has to protect Jenny--and for some reason he can't be truly killed. Well not just yet. Vogel is a decent all-American guy who plays a likable character the audience can root for. As Ian the actor is multifaceted turning from a naïve kid to a streetwise punk from a successful exec to a messed-up drug addict from a frightened guy to a hero and so on. Cole’s Jenny is rather one note--it doesn’t seem like the actress has much range. Murray as the femme fatale is delightful and looks a lot like something out of the The Matrix. But ultimately this is Vogel's calling card and should be a nice addition to his resume. Director Dario Piana knows how to heighten the tension as Ian Stone tries to figure out what is happening and along with the script by Brendan Hood they provide enough intrigue to make people care and wonder why the clocks stop in each of Ian’s lives and what significance it plays in each of them. Ian's retains more of his memory the more times he dies and is reborn so to speak and when he starts to figure out the puzzle Deaths of Ian Stone becomes more disturbing. Piana casts the shadowy Harvesters creatures who wander in and out of Ian’s weird predicament as shadows in the window or as whispery figures around a dark corner; they are definitely nightmare-inducing and provide more than a few jumps.
The human race doesn't see it coming. It isn't a comet a war a virus nuclear bombs or terrorism that brings us down. It's simply running out of gas on Aug. 12 2012. Suddenly the world becomes divided between the hunted and the hunters. In this case the young people are known as Foragers and they've holed themselves up in a large empty hospital while outside hang the Rovers ready to cook them up. The Rovers are run by brutal renegades with names like Jackal (Michael Madsen) Viper (Michael Kelly) and Mongrel (Vinnie Jones) and when the Foragers take in a newcomer Neon (Rachel Miner) a band of Rovers are hot on her tail. They stalk the young meat holed up in the hospital and shout "We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way but by sunrise we'll be gnawing on your bones." Comforting. When a frightened Miner as Neon talks about how the Rovers are going to "to cook one of us” every night she does it with a straight face. She's the post-apocalyptic Gretel of the fairytale Hansel & Gretel and they have to figure out how to outsmart the witch--or in this case the posse of cannibals--outside their door. There’s lots of full-throttle screaming and the actors get to wear cool Viking outfits and suits of armor. Madsen is typically over-the-top in the vicious role but no one would dare tone him down not even Quentin Tarantino. Director/writer Mark Young makes a stand-out cannibal film. Cannibals wearing war paint and other battle accoutrements brandishing large knives and scythes while some of them walk around with half-eaten skulls it’s all quite effective. These characters are killing machines who can talk back which makes them even more frightening. Young balances the camp and horror perfectly so ultimately Tooth & Nail is a good scare.
The thing is Pulse actually has a pretty compelling premise. From the furtive mind of co-writer Wes Craven it shows how our society’s utter reliance on broadband and telecom technology has come back to bite us in the ass. A college student trying to hack into a system inadvertently releases some massive malevolent virus from beyond that infects anyone with a computer cell phone PDA you name it. In other words there’s a whole lotta crack in that Crackberry now. Unfortunately Craven or whoever else tinkered with Pulse has to also adhere to the movie horror genre throwing in the same old scare tactics as we watch pretty young things Mattie (Kristen Bell) and Dexter (Ian Somerhalder) run around trying to stop the bad pasty-white ghosts before they too are infected. The one saving grace is the ending doesn’t cope out. Perky and blonde Bell (of TV’s Veronica Mars fame) is highly capable of convincing us she’s freaked out. As Mattie she witnesses her boyfriend killing himself watches all her friends turn into black ash; we certainly feel her pain. But there’s a determination there too and somehow you know she going to outsmart those nasty spirits--or at least outrun them. Her cohort Somerhalder--best known to Lost fans as Boone the show’s first major casualty--is right there with her every step of the way. It’s comforting actually to put hip young stars in horror movies because it makes it easier to root for their survival. First-time director Jim Sonzero--probably a little freaked himself making a big-budget movie AND dealing with the Weinstein brothers (who produced Pulse)--looks like he watched movies like The Ring and Dark Water over and over. Granted Pulse is also based on a Japanese horror film Kairo so it makes sense everything is so cold and bleak with rundown filthy apartments and lots of concrete. Creepy movies couldn’t be nearly as effective in a brightly lit environ I suppose. What’s interesting however is how some of the masters of horror of our generation are thinking alike. Craven isn’t alone in his telecom fears. Stephen King has also come out with a new novel called Cell which basically addresses the same issue but in a far more twisted way god bless him. In fact King’s end-of-the-world story starts with what he calls “The Pulse ” which is sent via cell phones and makes everyone who has one go crazy. Yep Craven and King are definitely on the same wavelength. Now that’s a scary place to be.
October 24, 2001 11:04am EST
In 1979 the benevolent Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg) was the protector of his thriving neighborhood until a local drug peddler kills him after he refused to take part in a deal that would have brought crack cocaine into the community. Worried about being incriminated big bad Eddie Mac forces everyone in the room to take a stab at the legendary protector with a switchblade including a dirty cop Bones's right hand man his best friend Jeremiah and his girlfriend Pearl (Pam Grier). If everyone is guilty of the crime he rationalizes no one will squeal. Not a very smart move and--as one of the characters put it--four can keep a secret if three are dead. Twenty-two years later Jeremiah's two sons Patrick (Khalil Kain) and Bill (Merwin Mondesir) buy the brownstone where Bones was killed in hopes of converting it into a nightclub. What they end up doing however is unleashing the ghost of a vengeful Bones embodied in a wet black dog with red eyes. Bones becomes more human every time the rabid pooch eats fresh meat.
Bones is Snoop Dogg's starring film debut. While the role of Jimmy Bones is pivotal his character does not get that much screen time. What we do see through flashbacks and towards the end of the film is a laid-back and mellow Snoop. As a fly cat in the '70s with strangely poetic lines the role seems to have been tailor-made for him. In the role of Bones's psychic girlfriend Pearl Grier (Jackie Brown) is able to play a character with a range of 22 years with ease. Unfortunately there seems to be little chemistry between the two. Perhaps it's the fact that with Bones's pimp-like stature you wonder what someone like Pearl would see in him. But the most impressive and down-to-earth performance in the movie probably comes from Kain (Juice) as Patrick who remains very convincing in such a strange and surreal story line.
Director Ernest Dickerson (Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight) wanted to make Bones in the style of classic horror movies with emphasis on practical and mechanical effects. While he mastered the campiness of the '80s horror genre the movie lacks the dread that predecessors like Nightmare on Elm Street had. The sins of the past revisiting the children theme is frightening enough but the movie resorts to cheap bloodletting for thrills instead. There is lots of gore and creepy shadows but the characters--Snoop's in particular--are confusing. Even though he was this legendary protector of the neighborhood we never really sympathize with him especially when he goes after his own daughter with a switchblade. The only character you end up caring about is Patrick whom you hope will escape the grips of this dark avenger. But Bones could definitely become an interesting franchise character if the story and characters were more refined.