KNUCKLEBONES **** USA 2016 Dir: Mitch Wilson. 85 mins
A briskly paced, spirited homage to post-Freddy, late 80’s American slasher movies. A quintet of buff guys and skimpily dressed hotties decide to poke around in an abandoned garment factory built by the Nazis in World War II – and host to a worker-massacre back in the 70’s.
The characters are deliberately annoying, including the doofus destined to die because he punchlines everything with the lame “That’s what she said”, and the girl who kicks everything off by enthusing “It looks like some kind of demon summoning spell – let’s try it out!” The villain is a fast-striding skull-faced demon with a sadistic wisecrack for every kill, and amusingly disposable characters are thrown in to add to the bodycount, including “Chocktaw Bill”, a Basil Exposition-figure who senses the government are behind all this in pursuit of supernatural warfare. The dialogue is often funny (“What’s that smell?” / “The 70’s!”) and the movie hits all the required beats (atmospheric setting, gratuitous nudity), but best of all are the marvellous old-school gore FX, executed with a rare pizzazz. Busy old Knucklebones gets to rework the have-sex-and-get-bisected kill from JASON GOES TO HELL in spectacular style, and memorably quips “I’ll only put the tip in…” before shoving a chainsaw up a guy’s rectum. The lively climax, involving a child in peril, a D.I.Y. amputation and riotous use of a broom handle, gives this terrific pastiche the send-off it deserves.
Review by Steven West