By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
I love seeing zombies feeding on human flesh, but watching Timothee Chalamet
("Call Me By Your Name"), Taylor Russell
("Words on Bathroom Walls") and Oscar winner Mark Rylance
("Bridge of Spies"/"The Trial of the Chicago 7") chomping down on people in the coming-of-age romantic cannibal movie "Bones and All"
takes things to a whole new level and is harder to stomach.
Directed by Luca Guadagnino ("Call Me by Your Name"), from a screenplay by David Kajganich,
("The Terror"), "Bones and All" is based on the 2015 novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis.
I haven't read the book, but I imagine it's probably even more detailed and gory than the film.
During my recent Sacramento screening of "Bones and All," the press and audience were given delicious cupcakes and donuts with splattered blood icing, and they were sprinkled with bits of candy bones inside. It was a clever marketing and promotional campaign.
Set in the 1980s, "Bones and All" is a dark and bloody love story. Taylor Russell plays Maren, a teen who definitely isn't like the rest of the students at her school. She's a cannibal. As much as she tries to contain her carnal cravings, she can't.
Her strict father (Andre Holland, "Passing") has tried everything and goes so far to lock her in her room at night, but Maren's need to "feed" is simply too strong. He's not only trying to protect her, but others she comes in contact with.
When Maren sneaks out to join friends for a sleepover, she loses it and soon everything begins to spiral out of control. So much so, that her father can't deal with her anymore. He leaves her with some money, her birth certificate, and a cassette/recorder that has information about her estranged mother.
Now, Maren is a wanderer roaming from town-to-town intent on finding her mother. Along the way, she encounters an older "feeder" named Sully (an excellent/creepy Mark Rylance) who swears he knew she was a feeder because he could smell the blood a mile away.
There is something about Sully that Maren just doesn't like. Yes, he's a cannibal, but he's simply weird. Yet, she stays at his house and winds up joining him in devouring a woman he's brought home. However, when she meets Lee (Timothee Chalamet) they instantly hit it off and understand that an eater never eats an eater. Lee is skinnier than a blade of grass and looks like he hasn't been “feeding” on anything in months.
Just when it seemed that Maren and Lee were finding their way, driving all over the country, and looking to build on their budding romance, Sully returns and can't get Maren off his mind. The guy has been following her everywhere and attempts to make a meal out of her before Lee takes care of him for the last time.
"Bones and All" is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Personally, I would have loved if the filmmakers lightened it up a bit and tossed in some cheeky humor. Maybe during the "feedings" have Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" playing or k.d. lang's "Constant Cravings" and even Eric Carmen's "Hungry Eyes."
Still, as gruesome and bloody as "Bones and All" is, it's also surprisingly hard to turn away from. There's a part of me that wants to read the book to see if the film remained faithful to it.
By far, Rylance's creepy, bad guy character won me over. He'd be dynamite in a horror movie. He's certainly a force here and one of the biggest reasons I liked "Bones and All."
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 5:17 p.m. and 6:47 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Look At This Trailer For "BONES AND ALL"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.