Directed by Harley Wallen, who also stars in the film, and written by Bret Miller, Cassie is a rebelling teen and with a new stepmom it escalates and her father Lucas decides to take her and his new wife Sarah out of the city for some bonding and quality time together. What they find instead is the McKinley’s an urban legend more true and terrifying than their worst nightmare. Starring: Jamie Bernadette, Angelina Danielle Cama, Harley Wallen, Kaiti Wallen, Erika Hoveland, Jimmy Doom and Mason Heidger.
Teenagers heading into a quiet town with their family to escape the trouble they caused in the city, is always going to be a recipe for more trouble. Ash and Bone’s opening tells you exactly what type of film this is going to be, it’s the classic sneak peek of the violence that the future holds for its characters. From there it hits all the usual beats that you’re expecting, some in a good way and others, not so much. The dialogue is fairly cliched and it’s falling into a lot of stereotypes, some of them a bit too hard. It stills works but it weakens as time goes on, especially with its slight break from convention in switching the perspective to the film’s antagonists. Unfortunately, that choice throws off the balance and atmosphere, and it goes downhill from there.
When Ash and Bone’s sinister siblings start to take the limelight, the tone dives headfirst into real slasher trash, it’s overt and occasionally crosses the line. That will still work for some committed slasher fans but for others it can become uncomfortable. It’s simply overplaying its hand, its use of violence is pretty much dead on but the writing of the siblings pushes them into territory that the film doesn’t have the range to deal with. Otherwise, visually again it ticks the boxes and is what you’d expect from this type of film. It’s playing it by the book and there isn’t a great amount of variety to its shots or cinematography.
The same can be said of the performances, their quality is about what you’d anticipate but occasionally dips lower. Sadly, again its with the siblings, which when they’re such a crucial part of telling this dark tale, it affects the feel of the film overall. Jimmy Doom has some good moments with the physicality and immaturity to Clete but he’s pushing the accent too much and it varies from the south to full on pirate, which makes it hard to hold onto an intimidating vibe. As his sister, May, Erika Hoveland manages to keep a better consistency and together they do work well to create that twisted sibling relationship. Angelina Danielle Cama leads the film well, she brings a resilience, recklessness and hidden compassion to Cassie.
Ash and Bone taps into your typical sadistic sibling relationship, on the hunt for anyone who messes with their warped version of peace. It doesn’t hold a lot of surprises and the style is exactly as you’d expect, but it occasionally pushes things too far and creates the wrong kind of discomfort. It sets out on the right foot but by the end things have fallen apart. It spends so long giving the limelight to its villains, that it leaves you unsure who’s side they want you to be on.