Movie Reviews 125 – [DVG] The Bonesetter (2003)

Continuing with the reviews of the Demons, Vampires and Ghouls DVD set:

The Bonesetter (2003)

The BonesetterThe reason I bought this DVD pack in the first place was to get a copy of The Bonesetter. This movie was kind of a milestone for me and was a great influence on my discovery of low budget indie horror films and later becoming a frenetic fan of and lowbrow critic of the genre.

I chanced upon director Brett Kelly’s promotion booth at a local comic and card show and was intrigued by his pitch and brochure for the then upcoming The Bonesetter premiere. I had recently been invited to another local short film premiere (Brian Singleton’s Zombie Cop vs the Alien Terror) but for that latter premiere I was more entertained by the director’s enthusiastic tales and adventures in renegade movie making that he presented onstage after the viewing than the movie itself. But the Zombie Cop experience combined with Brett’s description of the movie was enough for me to plan on attending The Bonesetter premiere.

At first, I wasn’t too sure what to expect for this feature length film.  What few ‘low budget’ movies I had seen prior were more what studios consider low budget, namely those that still had budgets in the tens or even hundred of thousands of dollars. This was my first ‘pizza and beers’ budget sized movie and to say I was impressed with the results is an understatement.

The story of The Bonesetter turns out to be an authentic Quebec legend.  In the nineteenth century, rural farmers were dependent on traveling healers or “bone setters”. The name developed as a garbled “bonhomme sept-heures” which, translated literally from the french, is the “seven o’clock man”. The legend of The Bonesetter goes that if the children stayed out beyond their seven o’clock curfew, the Bonesetter will get them.

The movie extrapolates the legend as a cyclical returning evil entity and contemporary small town Munster is in the midst of such a cycle where kids are disappearing.  Madeline (Sherry Thurig) is one such distraught mother seeking answers regarding her recently disappeared child at the local library where she meets librarian Kyle Addison (Brett Kelly). Much to the dismay of fellow librarian Mindy (Anne-Marie Frigon) who’s ever dropping hints, Kyle, a single parent himself, takes an immediate shine to Madeline and offers to help her out.

Other kids disappear in the next few days until Kyle’s own daughter becomes the Bonesetter’s next victim. By now the frantic parent’s and their own Scooby Gang have determined that they are upon the seventh and last day of the Bonesetter’s spree and he must be stopped before the midnight toll lest history repeats itself and their children disappear forever.

My one disappointment with the movie was the limited screen time of the Bonesetter himself, (Jody Haucke). Garbed in a top hat and cloak with penetrating eyes inspired by Lon Chaney’s London After Midnight, the Bonesetter presents a simple yet terrifying character and understandably to a greater extent, fear inducing in the kids he targets.

A sequel, The Bonesetter Returns, was made in 2005, but better news is that Kelly, now with nearly two dozen additional movies under his belt since this early production has recently decided to remake The Bonesetter with greater production values and a bigger budget.

Oh, and that librarian? Well in real life Brett got the hints and he and Anne-Marie are now happily married and have two kids of their own.  I assume they’ll make sure the kiddies are all snug in the house at seven o’clock each and every night.

For more info on the Bonesetter legend:

You can also join in and ensure that the new Bonesetter project is a success by contributing (and getting a perk or two) at:


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