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After suffering a near-death experience, Neesa Avery has literally been to Hell and back. When she and a group of friends discover an ancient dice game hidden behind a wall in an abandoned WWII factory, they unleash the powerful demon Knucklebones. As they attempt to finish the “game,” it becomes clear Knucklebones has special plans for Neesa and, having met her briefly in Hell, is saving her for last.
Knucklebones is a slasher movie born in the wrong decade. It is everything we came to expect from those late eighties/early nineties horror-slasher flicks. Best described as a mix of Nightmare on Elm Street meets Halloween meets Friday the 13th (Yes, it’s that generic), Knucklebones starts and finishes strong but is a ride we’ve all been on before.
The film opens exactly how I would open a supernatural slasher romp; Nazi scientists, naked chicks and pentagram engraved occult literature. It’s B-Grade gold. The acting at first seems pretty cringe-worthy, but once you get used to the mood of the movie it becomes bearable. There was thankfully no terrible CGI, but some corners were cut on a few of the death scenes. I did not mind that they skimped on a few of the impalements and instead spent their SFX budget on summoning scenes and the like. You have to respect the team for sticking to that more traditional feel.
The plot seems purely generic at first but there are a good couple of twists and turns along the way to actually keep it interesting. Knucklebones doesn’t kill in the most original of ways and the director seems to have a bit of a butt-fetish, but his terrible one-liners and his homelss-man-fell-into-a-vat-of-acid appearance are just enough to make you want to push through to the end.
Although this movie really does deserve a lot of praise, I need you, dear reader, to know what it is that I am praising. This is the movie that you rented from Blockbuster that finally got you to third base with Jenny Peterson in ninth grade. This was the movie that you had your first joint to while chilling with that white kid in your class that was trying to grow dreads. This was the late night sleepover movie at your best mates’ house on Saturday night. This is a throwback to those carbon copy killer thrillers where plot didn’t matter and the sex scenes remained on the front page of your spank bank for next three weeks.
These are a lot of faults with this film; plot holes, acting, effects, lighting, writing…but that really didn’t matter much to me though. If this had come out some twenty years ago, it would have been an instant cult classic. The world has sadly moved on since then, but Knucklebones definitely deserves an honorable mention. I’d definitely recommend this movie but only you are the type of person that enjoyed Jason X.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.